Bodywhys seeks explanation for delay to expansion of eating disorder service 

Bodywhys seeks explanation for delay to expansion of eating disorder service 

Bodywhys is seeking an 'urgent' meeting with the Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, about the delayed extension of Mount Carmel Community Hospital in Churchtown. Picture: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews

A meeting is being sought by Bodywhys, the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, with the Minister for Mental Health to find out why the expansion of an eating disorder service at a Dublin hospital has been delayed by six months.

The minister, Mary Butler, said in answer to a parliamentary question in October that the expansion planned for Mount Carmel Community Hospital in Churchtown, Dublin 14, was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

However, the project is now not due for completion until June 2022, with development work scheduled to begin in the new year.

Bodywhys said it was deeply disappointed to learn of the delay. The organisation’s communications officer, Ellen Jennings, said: “This comes at a time when presentations of eating disorders are increasing, with a 60% increase in referrals: 

Bodywhys will seek an urgent meeting with the Minister for Mental Health and Older People to establish the reason for the delay and the timeframe for completion. 

According to Bodywhys, 81% of those who accessed the HSE’s national clinical programme for eating disorders in 2020 started treatment within four weeks.

The organisation says that specialist services make a considerable difference to people’s recovery and qualify of life, and to their families.

When contacted by the Irish Examiner for details on why the plan had been delayed, the HSE did not address the question specifically, but issued a statement saying: “HSE Community Healthcare East can confirm that funding is being allocated for the development of an eating disorder day programme in Mount Carmel Community Hospital, Churchtown, Dublin.

“This is an entirely new location which will offer day programme services within the community Healthcare East (CHO6).”

It continued: “We hope to commence development works at this location in early 2022, with a possible completion date of June 2022.

“There are eight staff in post who are currently working from St Vincent University Hospital’s Acute Psychiatric Ward. We are in the process of recruiting an additional five clinical staff and two administrative staff to support this programme.”

Next week, Bodywhys will launch its Twelve Days of Christmas campaign, aimed at helping people with eating disorders to get through a season when there is such a pronounced focus on food.

• Bodywhys Helpline: 01 2107906, and email its support service at alex@bodywhys.ie. And online you can access the HSE Eating Disorder Self Care app for people with an eating disorder, and for those caring for them.

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