Hospital admissions for eating disorders at six-year high

The number of people hospitalised for severe eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have reached the highest levels in six years, latest NHS figures have revealed.

A total of 13,885 people had to be given inpatient treatment for eating conditions between April 2016 and 2017, data from NHS digital shows.

Hospitalisations for eating disorders have nearly doubled within six years, the figures reveal. In the year to April 2011, they stood at 7,260.

The number of under-18 female admissions for anorexia have also jumped in the same period, from 961 in the year to 2011, to almost 1,904 last year.

It was not immediately clear what was behind the increase.

The majority of people with eating conditions are able to remain living at home and get therapy to help beat the illness.

Patients would normally only be hospitalised if they were considered to be at high medical or psychiatric risk or were unable to make progress without intensive intervention in an inpatient setting.

Credit: PA

The Government said it is aiming to provide treatment within one week for 95% of children and young people referred for urgent cases of an eating disorder by 2020.

"We are committed to ensuring everyone with an eating disorder has access to timely treatment," a Department of Health spokesman said:

"We know the numbers seeking treatment are rising and it's encouraging to see an increase in patients getting routine care within four weeks, as well as a significant improvement in treatment times compared to last year.

"Inpatient treatment should be seen as a last resort, that's why we have set out plans to expand community-based care for eating disorders - 70 dedicated community eating disorders services are being developed and recruitment to get the teams up to full capacity is under way."