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Fianna Fáil Seanad Group Leader, Senator Catherine Ardagh has expressed her concern regarding the serious deficiencies in the provision of public healthcare for those suffering with an eating disorder in Ireland.

The Senator was speaking in Seanad Éireann earlier this afternoon on foot of information obtained by the party, which indicates that there are only three specialist beds in the country for adults with an eating disorder while there are no dedicated or inpatient CAMHS services for those in need of treatment for diseases such as Bulimia or Anorexia.

Senator Ardagh commented, “The Department of Health estimates that somewhere in the region of 200,000 people in Ireland may be affected by an eating disorder; a complex psychological disorder that affects every aspect of a person’s ability to function.

“There are an estimated 400 new cases among men and women each year in Ireland – those without private health insurance can expect a lengthy wait for assessment, let alone treatment under the public health system. For most, this leaves them suffering when we are all aware that early intervention guarantees the best chance of recovery.

“Treating the acute symptoms is often not enough; these patients need inpatient care to remedy the underlying causes of their eating disorder. Families nationwide are desperate for their child or loved one to receive the necessary inpatient care but there is simply no priority given to increasing the number of beds available.

“People can and do recover from eating disorders. Those suffering from the disorder, particularly young people,  can go on to live healthy and fulfilling lives but only if they have access to the health care they critically need.

“This Government have a clear and unambiguous obligation to improve the current abysmal standard of care available to those suffering with an eating disorder in this country.

“We can already predict that there will be increased demand for such services in the years ahead. We must invest in our services now to ensure they can deliver the clinical outcomes that these patients deserve,” she concluded.