Sadly, eating disorders are on the rise in our country and the consequences that they bring are very severe. Nowadays more than ever, disorders such as anorexia kill more people than any other. They primarily affect the young, and often prove to be family, as well as personal, tragedies if left untreated. These are, however, treatable illnesses and I agree we must do everything in our power to ensure that awareness is being raised and treatment is readily available to those in need.
The NHS England has sent an ambitious new access standard by 2020 promising that 95 per cent of patients are to be treated within four weeks of their first contact with a healthcare professional. Urgent cases will be treated within one week, and the worst emergency cases in children should find support within 24 hours. In May 2017, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published its updated guideline on eating disorders, covering a range of age groups, including adults.
The Government is investing an additional £30 million per year, until 2020, to improve community care for eating disorders, which has funded 67 new or extended Community Eating Disorder Teams across England. I am pleased to say that the clinical guidelines put forward by NICE have recommended that patients will be treated at an age appropriate facility, which will ensure patients are cared for in the most comfortable environment possible.
As for our general approach regarding mental health, I am pleased to say that a record investment of over £1 billion extra funding into crisis care and perinatal services has been made, as well as £1.4 billion devoted to transforming mental health and eating disorder services for children and young people over the next five years.
Eating disorders represent a real problem and I am happy to be able to say we are taking big steps into solving it.. With the right approach, and appropriate investment, I trust that the Government will be able to offer help, care, and a full recovery to those who currently suffer from eating disorders.