A Marshall Liberal Government will ensure children who are suffering with an eating disorder can access professional help by investing $1 million a year to establish a dedicated and well-resourced paediatric eating disorder service.
This funding will provide the equivalent of nine full-time medical and allied health clinicians and administrative support positions, with Local Health Networks providing some dietetic support.
Clinicians will be dedicated to both inpatient and outpatient services, providing better and more cost-effective outcomes for patients and their families and addressing the gap in services for young people under 15.
It is envisaged that a paediatric service could, over time, provide services at the Flinders Medical Centre, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the Lyell McEwin Hospital and, by telemedicine, to country locations.
Each year in South Australia, about 130 children and young people are treated for eating disorders.
Eating disorders are dangerous, with anorexia having the highest death rate of any mental illness.
Effective treatment can make a real difference to children with eating disorders, but there is currently a gap in service provision for children under 15.
While the State-wide Eating Disorder Service provides services and individual therapy for adults, no resources are provided for Family Therapy for patients under 15 and public outpatient services for children in this age group are also dramatically understaffed compared to best practice.
Children who need these services do not have access to them and that’s just not good enough.
That’s why we will invest in paediatric eating disorder services so that our vulnerable children can receive the specialised help they need to fully recover.