Concerns about 'shocking' rise in eating disorder hospital admissions

Tom Quinn, of eating disorder charity Beat, is 'shocked' at the rising number of hospital admissions

Tom Quinn, of eating disorder charity Beat, is 'shocked' at the rising number of hospital admissions - Credit: Beat

An eating disorder charity has raised concerns about a ‘shocking’ rise in hospital admissions as figures reveal a rise in cases in the east during the pandemic. 

NHS data showed an increasing number of hospital admissions among younger age groups in the east of England during the pandemic, compared to before the coronavirus struck. 

In March 2021, there were 120 admissions in the 18-39 age range compared to 85 in March 2020, before the first lockdown was introduced. 

Meanwhile, in the 17 and under age group, there were 55 admissions in March 2021, but only 20 in March 2020. 

In England as a whole, the percentage of hospital admissions has increased by 84% over the last five years. 

Tom Quinn, director of external affairs at eating disorder charity Beat, said: “There has been a shocking rise in hospital admissions for people with eating disorders, made worse by the devastating impact of the pandemic on the public's mental health.  

“The dramatic increase in hospitalisation shows that people are not getting treatment quickly enough, with patients admitted to hospital having become too unwell to be treated in community care settings.  

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“Eating disorders can be life-threatening if not spotted and safely managed by frontline staff.” 

He welcomed new guidance from the Royal College of Psychiatrists for commissioners and providers of adult eating disorder services, which provides information on the required skill mix in dedicated community eating disorder teams to improve access to treatment, care and support. 

He added the failure to follow previous guidance led to preventable deaths, which ‘cannot be allowed to happen again.’ 

“Everyone with an eating disorder deserves safe and effective treatment, regardless of the healthcare setting or specialism of their care team.  

“We hope that this new guidance will allow frontline staff to quickly identify and safely treat those with eating disorders in all settings and from all diagnoses quickly, giving them the very best chance of making a full and sustained recovery,” Mr Quinn said. 

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s health, you can contact Beat on 0808 801 0677 or visit www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk