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The NHS states that the most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorder (BED) and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). OSFED is the most common, followed by BED and bulimia. Anorexia is the least common.

On 2 January 2020, data from NHS Digital showed that hospital admissions for eating disorders have risen by more than a third (37 percent) across all age groups over the last two years. The chief executive of charity Young Minds described these figures as “worrying” and emphasised that getting earlier support can prevent problems escalating.

On 7 January 2020, Baroness Parminter asked the Government what steps it was taking following the reported rise in hospital admissions for eating disorders. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care, Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford, advised that eating disorder services are due to be “ramped up” as part of the £2.3 billion that is being invested into adult mental health services by 2023/24, as stated in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The NHS Mental Health Dashboard states that, during the first quarter of 2019/20, 77.7 percent of children and young people with an eating disorder received treatment within one week in urgent cases and 83.4 percent within four weeks for non-urgent cases. The NHS Long Term Plan commits to increasing investment in children and young people’s eating disorder services over the next five years.

In December 2017, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) published the Ignoring the Alarms: How NHS Eating Disorder Services are Failing Patients report. The report made five recommendations for improvements in NHS eating disorder services.

In June 2019, the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry concluded that insufficient progress had been made on delivering the PHSO’s report recommendations. In response, the Government advised of the renewed commitment to mental health services in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The UK’s eating disorder charity, Beat, has recently spoken of the limited funding for research into eating disorders and has called for further research into the development of earlier interventions.


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