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To: East Riding of Yorkshire County Council

Eating Disorder Services for East Yorkshire

PLEASE allocate funds and PLEASE hold our government to account over promises to provide services for patients with eating disorders.

Why is this important?

I want to highlight the sparsity of resources in the NHS for treating patients with eating disorders. This is a national issue but it has to begin somewhere. I mention anorexia in particular because it came into our family, but the same points apply to all eating disorders.

The eating disorder charity BEAT states: "Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, from medical complications associated with the illness as well as suicide."

So where is the funding? Where are the specialists?

The Royal College of Psychiatrists report: “We are seeing waits of up to 16 months for non-urgent referrals. It is really worrying, because we know that the more quickly people start receiving treatment the quicker they are to respond to it.”

Anorexia is an illness. Despite what some people might think, no-one chooses to be anorexic in the same way that no-one chooses cancer. It is a physical illness and it is a mental illness but it is also a neglected illness as far as the NHS is concerned. In the East Riding of Yorkshire, until recently, there was no provision for eating disorders. This year, CAMHS has established an Eating Disorder Service. What about those patients who are not children? Those patients like my own loved one.

Four years ago, a beautiful, talented, artistic young lady whom I love with all my heart fell prey to anorexia and I watched in impotence as she shrank before my eyes. She was 16 and resisted medical treatment for the best part of a year. Once she accepted help, her GP was wonderful at keeping an eye on her and referring her to a general mental health therapist but there were no specialists in eating disorders or any specialist treatment.

Early in 2017, when my loved one became so ill that she weighed 5 stone and had a BMI of 12, she was admitted to a gastroenterology ward at the general hospital. The doctors and nurses were marvellous but they were not experts in the treatment of eating disorders. However, they found her a place at a residential ED Clinic in Grimsby, 54 miles and a drive of an hour and a half away. Grimsby is not in East Yorkshire; it’s in Lincolnshire. Still, we were lucky.

Did you see the programme, ‘Wasting Away: The Truth about Anorexia’, which told the story of news reader Mark Austin’s daughter?

I watched in tears as their story unfolded in an almost carbon copy of our own. Now if someone in the public eye, with a doctor for a wife, had no clue what to do, and if help wasn’t readily available to them, then what chance did we have?

Mark Austin's research taught him that there are only 200 beds for ED patients in Britain and his programme revealed a young woman from Nottingham who was sent to Edinburgh for treatment. Her mum had to make a 600 mile round trip to visit her.

UK eating disorder statistics
• 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder
• 11% of the 1.6 million people struggling with an eating disorder are male
• Eating disorders are more common in individuals between the ages of 14 and 25 years old
• There are up to 18 new diagnoses of bulimia nervosa, per 100,000 people, per year
• 1 in 100 women aged between 15 and 30, are affected by anorexia nervosa
• 10% of people affected by an eating disorder suffer from anorexia nervosa
• 40% of people affected by an eating disorder suffer from bulimia nervosa
• The rest of sufferers fall into the BED (binge eating disorder) or OSFED (other specified feeding or eating disorder) categories of eating disorders
• Research suggests that the earlier that eating disorder treatment is sought, the better the sufferer’s chance of recovery

These UK eating disorder statistics are derived from data published by Beat and Mind.

For the sake of the futures of our young people, we need to hold the government to account, locally and nationally, to keep their promises and to ensure that there is money in every local authority for ED Services.

How it will be delivered

I will take it to East Riding of Yorkshire County Council Offices. I will also make sure that it is reported in the press.

East Riding of Yorkshire

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2018-12-30 10:04:43 +0000

2018-12-24 09:16:35 +0000

My story will be on KCFM radio station this morning!

2018-12-17 12:55:31 +0000

My letter appeared in the Pocklington Post on 13th December. As a result, I've been contacted by local radio station KCFM to do an interview. Watch this space!

2018-11-24 16:41:49 +0000

Thank you so much to everyone who has signed my petition. It now has 100 signatures and so I am ready to take the next steps eg: contacting the Council and my MP. Please continue to pass it on, on my behalf.

2018-11-24 14:12:10 +0000

100 signatures reached

2018-11-07 09:23:55 +0000

50 signatures reached

2018-11-06 19:59:13 +0000

25 signatures reached

2018-11-06 16:36:02 +0000

10 signatures reached