In NSW there are currently only two acute inpatient beds for people, like me, who suffer from an eating disorder. This has just been cutback from the initial & inadequate 4 beds in 2010.
With the creation of the National Eating Disorders Coalition in early 2009, the profile of eating disorders was supposed to be raised, yet in this time we have seen a decrease in the number of acute beds available to eating disorders patients in the state of NSW.
This cutback in bed numbers means that those desperately in need, will be turned away, and this could have dire consequences. I am calling on the Health Ministers to immediately put back these bed places, and initiate a review into the care of people with eating disorders.
I am a student & health professional who has been personally touched by an eating disorder. After fighting with the illness for a decade & having a battle to access adequate treatment beginning at the end of 2008 until very recently, I am determined to make a difference. I do not believe an eating disorder needs to have a mortality rate attached to it at all & I am a passionate advocate of early intervention. Upon becoming aware of the recent bed cuts for adult services in NSW my passion for adequate care for eating disorder patients has been reignited.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness; according to The Butterfly Foundation, the mortality rate of anorexia nervosa is 15-20%, with those with anorexia 32 times more likely to suicide than their healthy peers.
The reality is that eating disorders are a mental illness with dire physical consequences. With adequate early intervention, there needn't be a high mortality rate, nor should there be physical complication associated with a mental disorder.
The treatment provided for eating disorders is similar to an Oncologist saying “look I know you’ve got breast cancer, but before you can get any treatment for it, we’ll have to wait for it to metastasizes to your spine & if you want any intensive treatment, we’ll have to wait until it’s in your liver & lungs also because we can only offer treatment to the most acutely ill in the state.” That would be considered ludicrous & front page news, yet patients are knocked back for treatment or provided inadequate treatment on an almost daily basis.
We the undersigned request the following:
- The original four eating disorders beds at RPAH be reinstated immediately with an agreement to expand the available beds for eating disorders patients in the next two years be reached within the all of the hospital networks in NSW.
- A comprehensive and independent review of public eating disorders treatment in NSW be made immediately.