A CORK charity that supports people with eating disorders and their families has called on the HSE to use its funding to address the “intense need” for services in the region.
Last year, the Eating Disorder Centre Cork (EDCC) conducted 1,877 therapy sessions for people with eating disorders, a 4% increase on 2017.
The centre, which provides ongoing individual support to people aged 13 and older and also offers support to parents, also saw an 80% increase in their work with families last year compared to previous years.
Trish Shiel, clinical manager of the EDCC, said there is an “intense need” for services across Cork and Ireland to support people with eating disorders.
She was speaking after it was revealed the HSE spent less than 10% of the €1.5m budget allocated to tackle eating disorders in Ireland last year.
Just €137,000 was spent by the state in 2018 on “progressing posts” in the area of eating disorders.
So far this year, the HSE has admitted that it has spent none of the €1.6m allocated to tackle eating disorders, claiming the funding will not be available until January 2020.
“We have 65-plus people and their carers coming into our centre,” said Ms Shiel.
“Many of these people need more intensive support than we can manage financially.
“We are a charity, we are dependent on the HSE for funding and we are very grateful for the funding we do get from them,” she added.
“But we are acutely aware of the intense need that there is in Cork, the Munster region and across Ireland, for professional, effective services to combat eating disorders.
“We would very much appreciate further funding and we have been requesting this over a period of time to develop a more intensive programme.”
Cork TD Pat Buckley (SF) hit out at the lack of spending in the sector.
“It’s shocking to see that funding made available was not spent on these vital services,” he said.