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Update: 2023 Funding of National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders (NCPED)


Bodywhys – the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland expresses its profound shock and disappointment that public specialist eating disorders services will receive no funding in 2023.

Bodywhys calls upon Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, to intervene immediately over the lack of funding.

Jacinta Hastings, Chief Executive Officer at Bodywhys said:

“In January 2018, the HSE launched the National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders (NCPED) to advance and improve public eating disorder services in the Republic of Ireland. This plan included the development of 16 dedicated eating disorder teams, 8 teams for children and adolescents, and 8 teams for adults.

NCPED Statistics

  • 2020: 228 referrals, 150 assessments
  • 2021: 501 referrals, 301 assessments
  • 2022: 435 referrals. 227 assessments

These figures demonstrate a consistent level of need for NCPED’s services. They don’t reflect the experiences of others who are ill and currently without access to a public specialist service.

NCPED received some funding in 2018 and no funding in 2019 and 2020. Ring-fenced funding was secured in 2021 and 2022. The lack of clarity in Budget 2023, announced in October 2022, created much uncertainty. Many months later, the latest development confirms a return to an absence of funding which, in turn, negatively impacts both current and future developments.

The lack of funding for 2023 will sadly maintain a mixed picture of public services, which is unacceptable. People living with eating disorders and their families need access to a full range of specialist public services across all catchment areas and Community Healthcare Organisation (CHOs), to recover, become physically and psychologically well and to rebuild their lives.

The Mental Health Commission’s recent Interim Report on the provision of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the State acknowledged the excellent work of existing specialist eating disorder teams. Sharing the Vision: A Mental Health Policy for Everyone endorses further and phased implementation of NCPED. This is now at risk. The full realisation of NCPED must be allowed to progress and flourish without delay.

Eating disorders are serious and complex mental illnesses, which affect every aspect of someone’s health. 20% of people may develop a chronic version of the illness. Eating disorders are second only to substance use in terms of mortality risk.

Funding needs to be provided consistently. We are calling on the Minister to intervene as a matter of urgency to ensure that people affected by eating disorders can have the best opportunities to avail of dedicated treatment services across Ireland. Without access to a specialist service, people are likely to deteriorate and become more unwell.”

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