Specialist teams set up to tackle eating disorders

EXPERTS are being sought to lead new teams to care for people living with eating disorders in Wales. Health Minister Edwina Hart has announced funding of £500,000 this financial year to begin the development of the service and provide extra training.

This will rise to £1million every year to develop teams of specialists.

GP surgeries, social services and mental health services will work together under the new plans.

The Gower AM has approved proposals by health boards to utilise Assembly money to develop one team in North Wales and one in South Wales.

Ms Hart said the funding would improve diagnosis, care and support for those with eating disorders.

She said: “It is important that people with eating disorders, as with any other condition, have prompt diagnosis and treatment to ensure the best outcome.

“I asked the NHS in July to develop proposals for how it would use this funding to improve eating disorder services, following the publication of the Assembly’s strategy for the conditions.

“I am pleased that I am able to approve the plans which, I believe, will attract experienced staff that will improve services greatly for the benefit of patients.”

Following Ms Hart’s announcement, health boards will now start to recruit staff to lead the new services.

Ms Hart said the Assembly is working to improve mental health facilities with new units opening across Wales, including the new Child and Adolescent Unit in Abergele, for people who require more specialist care.

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She said: “The new teams will focus on a small, but extremely vulnerable group of patients, who have not always had the level of care they need to recover and live more independent lives.”

The South Wales team will be spilt to focus on individual health organisations across the area, but work together to share expertise.

The Assembly has also invested in the development of an electronic course for primary care workers on eating disorders.