Sharp rise in children waiting for treatment in London for eating disorders

Tap above for video report by Chloe Keedy

There's been an alarming rise in the number of children in London waiting for treatment for eating disorders, according to figures from NHS England.

Between January and March the figure increased nearly five-fold compared to a year ago, with 40% more children also receiving treatment. 

  • The number of children waiting for treatment last year between January and March was 39

  • For the same period this year that number rose to 187

  • During the same period, the number of children receiving hospital treatment for an eating disorder rose from 263 last year to 365 this year

At Great Ormond Street Hospital in central London a pilot scheme is tackling the waiting list for beds by expanding the outpatient service.

But the hospital said the uncertainty of the pandemic created a 'perfect storm' for children prone to eating disorders.

"I think the pandemic has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty and some insecurity," said Consultant Child Psychiatrist Dr Lisa Mukherjee.

"That atmosphere is probably the perfect storm for any mental illness but young people who are particularly prone to developing an eating disorder really find uncertainty difficult," she added.

If you, or someone you know, if affected by an eating disorder you can find details of help and advice here.