Dear Vaughan Gething,
The evidence is clear: treating people with eating disorders quickly gives them the best possible chance of a rapid, full and sustained recovery. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses affecting approximately 1.25 million people in the UK.
Those affected by eating disorders in Wales are waiting too long for treatment. The longer someone is left waiting for treatment, the smaller the chance they will make a full and sustained recovery. There are no specific eating disorders waiting times targets in place in Wales, so this can leave very ill people waiting a very long time for the treatment they desperately need.
In 2015, NHS England introduced Access and Waiting Times Targets for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, meaning that by 2020 no one under 19 should wait longer than four weeks between referral and treatment. The target for urgent referrals is just one week. These targets are rightly ambitious, and we feel that all those affected by eating disorders in Wales should have the same – or better, such as targets for adults - standards in place.