Dear Shona Robison,
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 Scotland 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 Scotland, so this can leave very ill people waiting a very long time for the treatment they desperately need.
In 2015, 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 Scotland should have the same standards in place.
We’re calling on you to help stop the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders by:
- Introducing waiting times targets of four weeks for routine and one week for urgent referrals for people of all ages who need specialist treatment for eating disorders in Scotland.
- Ensuring that people of all ages do not face unnecessary barriers to accessing specialist treatment.
- Pledging the funding to enable all NHS Boards to deliver fully on these promises.