Better mental health policy could save lives of those with eating disorders

Young Alliance’s Pete Milner has called for improvements to mental health policy in Northern Ireland and demanded the implementation of the Bamford Review on mental health and learning disability as a matter of urgency. His calls come as the family of a 17 year old girl with anorexia pleaded with doctors at the Ulster Hospital to save her life.

Pete Milner said: “It is appalling that patients requiring psychiatric treatment for anorexia and bulimia, many of whom are extremely vulnerable, are put at risk due to lack of adequate mental health policy. Many of these people are left waiting for days on end to be told by an over-worked specialist that they will have to wait to be transferred to England, in order to access specialised treatment there.

“The Bamford Review must be implemented as a matter of urgency. It proposes sweeping changes, which will see many new mental health professionals introduced into Northern Ireland’s hospitals. Many new psychiatrists and psychologists will be employed in order to meet the commitments set out in the Bamford Review. Such specialists will provide the specific medical expertise needed to sufficiently treat mental health patients in Northern Ireland.

“In today’s modern NHS, it is disgraceful that patients are left with no other choice but to leave Northern Ireland for treatment. This problem has been exacerbated by the slow progress of government in introducing the overdue Bamford Review. Patients ought to have the opportunity to be at home and to remain close to friends and family when receiving treatment to overcome mental illness.

“The revolving door policy on Direct Rule Ministers has delayed this legislation. The best way to make the right decisions for Northern Ireland is through the Assembly, therefore devolution must return as soon as possible.”


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