Welsh Eating Disorder Service Review - 3 Years On

*I ddarllen y cylchlythyr hwn yn Gymraeg, cliciwch yma.

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing (Welsh Government)

Dear Lynne Neagle MS

‘The Welsh Eating Disorder Service Review – 3 Years on’

We are writing to bring to your attention concerns about the progress made since the 2018 eating disorder service review. This independent review described an ambitious vision based on early access to effective treatment and support in every part of Wales.

Beat’s new report “The Welsh Eating Disorder Service Review 2018 – 3 Years on”, finds that the progress made in expanding and improving eating disorder services has been very uneven across Wales.

The report found that while access to treatment has improved in some areas, in others it is still very limited. Clinicians reported concerns about waiting times increasing, with serious consequences for patients and their families. It also found that both communication between services and support for families differ significantly across Wales.

The report also found that there were some key challenges which have delayed progress. These include: limited and uneven investment in eating disorders, workforce challenges, and the impact of the pandemic.

Every year health boards receive extra funding for mental health services, but in 2020/21 only 7% of this went to eating disorder services. The amount spent on specialist community-based services for adults varied widely. For progress to be made going forwards, it is vital this changes.

The issue of workforce is not isolated to eating disorders, however despite the recruitment of some new staff the workforce remains small and unevenly spread. Clinicians are also concerned about wellbeing and the risk of burnout.

Finally, the pandemic has led to a major rise in demand for treatment. Progress in expanding and improving eating disorder services is now even more urgent.

To support more equal progress in expanding and improving eating disorder services we, the undersigned, ask that the Welsh Government takes the following actions:

  • - Publishes a plan with timescales for achieving the vision of the 2018 eating disorder service review, so that everyone affected can access effective help quickly.
  • - Changes its guidance on the extra funding it provides for mental health services and holds health boards to account over their total investment.
  • - Ensures that a permanent ‘National Clinical Lead for Eating Disorders’ is in place to drive forward improvements.
  • - Ensures that people with lived experience, including families are always involved in helping to improve services in Wales, both at the national and local levels.
  • - Enables services in Wales to take part in an eating disorders clinical audit, to help improve the data collected and reported by health boards.

You can read the full ‘3 years on’ report, that includes a more comprehensive discussion of the findings and these actions here.

We look forward to hearing from the Welsh Government about its plans to achieve the vision set out by the service review.

Yours Sincerely,

Andrew Radford, Chief Executive, Beat 

Jo Whitfield, National Officer (Wales), Beat 


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