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Number of children and young people waiting for eating disorder treatment soars

New NHS data analysed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows that while the number of those waiting for urgent and routine treatment has reached record levels during the pandemic, more children and young people are being treated than ever before. The analysis found that at the end of the first quarter (April, May and June) of 2021/22, a year on from the start of the pandemic.

The RCP is calling for additional funding announced by government to reach frontline services as soon as possible.

Dr Agnes Ayton, Chair of the Faculty of Eating Disorders Psychiatry, at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on children and young people with disruption to their schooling, social lives and home lives. Many young people have not received support early enough, causing their eating disorders to become much worse and harder to treat.

“Delays to treatment can put lives at risk. Services are struggling with soaring demand, fewer beds because of social distancing, and an ongoing shortage of specialist doctors.

“The government made an ambitious commitment on waiting times, but the pandemic has set us back years. Urgent action is needed to ensure children and young people with eating disorders get the help they need, when they need it.”