Improvements in eating disorder care across Wales
A white doctor's coat with a stethoscope and pens in a pocket.

The "vast majority" of people who need treatment for an eating disorder are seen in Wales and treated in their local communities, according to the Welsh Government.

A new team and clinical lead for eating disorders is reportedly making change with a focus on early intervention.

Lynne Eagle, deputy minister for mental health and wellbeing, said: "Despite rising demand, all health boards in Wales are providing high-quality treatment for eating disorders for children, young people and adults."

She also said she has seen first-hand early intervention is during her visits to various health boards across the country.

Over the coming year, a number of health boards will be working with the clinical lead to explore the introduction of the First Episode and Rapid Early Intervention in Eating Disorders (FREED) model, which is targeted at young people aged 16 to 25.

Health boards are already providing early intervention models of care – support aimed at preventing people from requiring specialist care and for people waiting for treatment to start.

 Waiting times for assessment and treatment have also been reduced to four weeks in some health boards.

One example of the new models of care comes from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board where they are piloting the Beat Synergy programme, an early intervention model for people who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for treatment.

Additionally, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is arranging for initial telephone assessments to be carried out on the day a referral is received, aiming to speed up the referral process and time to treatment and support.

A review of eating disorder provision, including the provision of a specialist unit in Wales, is currently being carried out. Eight adult eating disorder beds have been made available in Wales at a private facility in Ebbw Vale to provide treatment for more people in Wales instead of being sent to units in England.

Emma Hagerty, eating disorders clinical lead for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said they have implemented a number of initiatives "to provide further support and person-centred care to patients, including a group education programme with preparation for change workshops."

She added: "We have also expanded our clinical expertise by introducing a peer mentor and a CAMHS-to-Adult-Mental-Health Transition Co-ordinator, along with training team members in trauma therapy, in order to be able to meet the evolving needs of our patients."