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Monday, 7 October 2013

Waiting Time Equality for Mental Health Patients

Today, Beat published the results of a survey about waiting times to access treatment for eating disorders patients of all ages. 

The results are shocking:


331 of the 471 respondents had received outpatient treatment. Of this group:
  •   100 (30%) people had to wait longer than 18 weeks to access outpatient treatment.
  •   85 (of those 100 people) (26%) had to wait 6 months or longer from referral to start of outpatient treatment, with 25 of those 100 (8%) waiting more than a year and some as long as 2 years.
  •   40% (188) of respondents to our survey were told that their BMI wasn’t ‘low enough to access treatment quickly’. Perhaps connected to this issue was the extra waiting times experienced by those with diagnoses of bulimia and EDNOS
    • -  Bulimia: 42% (32) of respondents who had been diagnosed with Bulimia and had been referred to outpatient treatment had to wait longer than 18 weeks to begin treatment.
    • -  EDNOS: 42% (31) of respondents who had been diagnosed with EDNOS and had been referred to outpatient treatment had to wait longer than 18 weeks to begin treatment.
    • -  The comparable percentage for those with a diagnosis of Anorexia was 20% (38 respondents).
  •   Even the younger respondents to the survey had experienced long waiting times to get the early intervention that could be so important. 18% (28) of under 18s had to wait longer than 18 weeks to start outpatient treatment. 13% (21) had to wait 6 months or more.
  •   Some patients had to wait a particularly long while to receive their assessment appointment. This could be particularly concerning since the assessment is important in the prioritisation of cases. 21% (70) of respondents had to wait longer than 3 months for their assessment and 16% (52) had to wait 6 months or more. 

This is not acceptable.

Beat is starting a campaign to get waiting times for mental health treatment enforced, just as they are for physical health conditions.  Please get involved.  Share on Twitter.  Post on Facebook.  Link it in.  Write to your MP.  Contact Healthwatch.

It is time that all Mental Health patients had access to care and were not further stigmatised.  It is especially important that Eating Disorders patients and their families make their voices heard.  

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