2022 has again been a busy year for the National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders (NCPED) and our teams continued to receive high numbers of referrals. Although the sharp rise in the number of eating disorder presentations seen in 2021 has decreased, we know it remains challenging for those experiencing eating disorders and for their families and carers as referral rates are 2.3 times higher than in 2019. We are pleased to say that more children adolescents and adults started treatment with ED teams and ED clinicians in 2022 than 2021, and the majority accessed evidence based treatments.
Ensuring people with eating disorders can receive treatment that research has shown to work best is very important to us at the NCPED. We continued to deliver training programmes and educational meetings for staff working in community eating disorder teams. We held our bi-annual ED network development day where we share our learning of delivering eating disorder care across our teams. We delivered our first National Eating Disorder Webinar in March 2022 – Medical Emergencies in Eating Disorders. This webinar was attended by over 500 health professionals across the Irish health system. In 2022 we successfully recruited clinicians in acute hospitals with time dedicated to work in eating disorders.
Supporting recruitment of eating disorder clinicians and the development of new teams remained our key priority in 2022. We now have a total of 10 teams at various stages of development from well-established to starting up.
The NCPED remains committed to delivering community eating disorder services across Ireland so everyone experiencing an eating disorder can readily access the help they need. We know it is hard for people to seek help for an eating disorder and when they do, it is important that the help they need is easily reached. Throughout 2022 we regularly updated the Minister of State for Mental Health & Older People, Mary Butler, on the progress of the NCPED. We are grateful for her support and commitment to funding future eating disorder teams.
The NCPED is looking forward to 2023 and continuing our work to deliver the Model of Care which is aimed at improving the quality of HSE eating disorder services for people with eating disorders of all ages and for their families and carers.