Long waiting lists cripple help for anorexia patients, special centres are being set up

The government is setting up two regional eating disorder expertise centres after being warned that more people will die of anorexia if specialist help is not ramped up.

K-EET, a team of doctors and psychiatrists set up by health minister Hugo de Jonge earlier this year to monitor help for anorexia sufferers, says long waiting lists and a lack of cohesion in services is crippling help for anorexia patients.

Young people who are early sufferers are not helped in time and their situation quickly worsens, K-EET said. Specialist clinics are already overwhelmed and patients have to wait over 14 weeks on average for help.

‘We have seen that decentralisation away from the services offered locally has made things worse for people with an eating disorder,’ K-EET project leader Monica Scholten told broadcaster NOS. ‘Because local councils no longer have this duty of care, a link in the chain has disappeared and offering proper care has become more difficult.’

The lack of cooperation and knowledge is another problem, Scholten said. K-EET has drawn up a roadmap for the next three years aimed at bringing together professionals, increase knowledge and improving cooperation across the regions.

Two specialist centres will now open in 2020 and more will follow in 2021, the minister said.  Some 200,000 people have anorexia in the Netherlands and around 10% of patients die.

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