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Eating Disorders

New eating disorder treatment hub to open for Kildare and parts of Dublin and Wicklow

The facility, one of 12 across Ireland, will offer services for adults.

A NEW EATING disorder treatment hub is set to be opened as the government continues the rollout of a plan to overhaul specialist services.

The Department of Health said the facility will be for adults located in CHO (Community Health Organisation) 7. 

CHO 7 covers Kildare, west Wicklow and several areas in Dublin, including the west and south-west of the county.

The new treatment facility is being opened under the HSE’s ‘model of care plan’. Started in 2018, it has two key aspects.

First, 16 ‘hubs’ would be opened to offer treatment to people with eating disorders in community settings across Ireland.

Second, new inpatient beds would be opened for the smaller number of people who were too unwell to be treated in the community.

The services would operate on two pathways – one for under 18s, the other for adults.

The latest hub brings the number of specialist community treatment facilities to 12.

While this is below the 16 which the government aimed to have in place by the end of 2023, Mary Butler, the Minister for Mental Health, said services are improving.

“It has been a key priority for me to ensure continued dedicated investment in eating disorder supports and to make sure that our supports are delivered where and when needed,” she said. 

“Last year alone, €8.1 million was spent by the HSE on eating disorder services, and a further €4.5 million was allocated for treatment through the Treatment Abroad Scheme for those that needed specialist treatment.

“[This] builds on the significant investment in specialist eating disorder services since I have come to office in July 2020.”

Plan rollout

While the new treatment hubs have led to more services available in the community, inpatient services have lagged behind.

It is planned that eight new inpatient beds for under 18s will be opened as part of the new National Children’s Hospital. However, as recently revealed by The Journal, no funding has been provided for the adult beds. There are just three public adult beds in Ireland, despite plans to open 20 more by 2023.

The HSE said that due to the fact that the vast majority of people with eating disorders benefit from being treated in the community, it is first focusing on the rollout of the 16 specialist treatment hubs.

Butler also said the HSE is now reviewing the eating disorder model of care, which was due to be completed by the end of 2023.

“I have asked the HSE to undertake a review to ensure that the most appropriate services are being developed in line with demand and changes in population,” she said.

“The outcome of the review will inform future staffing requirements and ensure that eating disorder services are in line with evolving international best practice.

“It is really important that the voices of those who use these vital services are heard and reflected in the new Model of Care, and I have asked the HSE to commence a public consultation with service users and representative groups to reflect this.”

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