Target: Jeremy Hunt, U.K. Secretary of State for Health
Goal: Improve access to care for patients suffering from eating disorders.
People in England who suffer from an eating disorder can wait up to 180 days to see a specialist despite the fact that they are dangerous psychological disorders. Early intervention is a critical component for eating disorder recovery, and these wait times are unacceptable. It is essential that the U.K. Department of Health (DH) recognize that eating disorders are debilitating illnesses that require easily accessible treatment for patients.
A recent study found that approximately 725,000 people in the U.K. suffer from an eating disorder. However, over the past four years, the waiting period to see a specialist has increased by 120 percent. These statistics clearly show a lack of awareness and concern regarding the severity of eating disorders as serious mental diseases. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, with many sufferers dying from medical complications linked to the disorder and suicide.
Not only is England’s mental health system failing to recognize the danger of these diseases, but it is establishing a problematic system for accessing care. Patients who are considered “sicker” are given priority access to specialist services. For those who are lower on the list, only sinking further into their disease until it shows more drastic physical symptoms is going to increase the speed at which they can receive the care they need.
With early access to care being one of the most important factors in eating disorder recovery, it is a huge injustice to people suffering in England that they have to wait so long to see an eating disorder specialist. Eating disorders are not superficial diseases; they are very real and deadly psychiatric disorders that claim lives every year. Please sign the petition below to demand that the U.K. Department of Health drastically improves timely access to care for people struggling with eating disorders.
Dear Secretary Hunt,
I am writing to request that you and the Department of Health make every effort to improve access to care for people suffering from eating disorders. Eating disorders are extremely dangerous mental disorders that cause much pain and suffering for both those afflicted and their loved ones. As of now, some people in England are experiencing overly long waiting periods before they can obtain treatment from a specialist, and this is simply unjust and inhumane.
According to a recent study, 725,000 people in the U.K. struggle with an eating disorder, yet the waiting period to see a specialist has increased by 120 percent over the past four years. These statistics show an appalling lack of concern for the mental and physical well-being of people suffering from eating disorders. It is well known among mental health professionals that early intervention is one of the most important factors in a successful recovery from an eating disorder. It is therefore alarming that many people in England have had to wait as long as 180 days to gain access to an eating disorder specialist.
Eating disorders are not to be taken lightly; anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any metal disorder. Despite the danger of these diseases, the healthcare system in the U.K. is failing those with eating disorders, currently setting them up to fall deeper into their illness before they receive treatment. Please advocate for people suffering from eating disorders by making every effort to ensure they can receive treatment as swiftly as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Courtney Emery