A WOMAN who believes her best chance at survival from eating disorders is inpatient treatment has been given 20 outpatient sessions almost a year after being put on a waiting list.
The Cork woman fears she will die unless she can access inpatient care for anorexia and bulimia.
But she cannot access inpatient care because she does not have health insurance and she cannot get a referral through the public system for one of only three inpatient beds for eating disorders in the country.
Those three beds are in Dublin.
Although the woman lives in Dublin at present, she cannot get access to one of those beds.
Instead, she has now been given a date in mid-October to start a series of 20 weekly outpatient sessions of dedicated cognitive behavioural therapy for eating disorders. She was referred for the outpatient treatment in early November 2020 after being referred to an Accident and Emergency department.
She says: “I got an initial appointment for assessment for January and then I was put on a waiting list for outpatients treatment.”
In the intervening period, she says she has been admitted to Accident and Emergency at least seven times and has had one suicide attempt.
She was kept in hospital in a normal ward but says she needs specialised inpatient care for her eating disorders.
She fears that the outpatient treatment will not be enough to tackle the severity of her condition which she says has developed over the past 12 years of her life.
In April, Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns raised a story byin the Dáil about the woman’s fears that she will die unless she gets inpatient care.
She said: “This is a deeply distressing and serious issue which remains unaddressed despite assurances from government.” She added: “Eating disorders are one of the mental issues most associated with mortality and they need to be treated with the urgency that they require. I will be raising with local HSE management again.”
Because the woman is from Cork and has been living in Dublin, she has sought help in both Cork and Dublin. However, she has been unable to get inpatient care in either area, and is now dealing solely with adult eating disorders services in St Vincent’s in Dublin.
The Health Service Executive said funding is being allocated this year for an eating disorders team for adults in Cork and Kerry.