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Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Temple Street refused a request to accept a “small” number of over-16s with anorexia nervosa last year because of the need for additional resources, this newspaper understands.
The issue was discussed at the hospital’s executive management committee meeting in October, minutes of which were seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.
“The site CEO received a request from a Consultant Paediatrician to allow patients with anorexia nervosa attend the hospital up to the eve of their 18th birthday,” a hospital spokesperson told MI.
CHI at Temple Street treats patients up to the eve of their 16th birthday. The request was considered by the committee and refused on the basis of the impact on other specialties and the need for additional resources.
The hospital’s spokesperson added that treatment for eating disorders takes place “in the first instance in community, rather than acute hospital settings”.
“Over the last number of years there has been an increase in the numbers of children and young people referred to child and adult mental health services with eating disorders,” continued the spokesperson.
“There has also been an increasing number of children and young people referred for inpatient treatment. This has been matched by a significant increase in the number of children and young people admitted to paediatric/medical wards with a primary presentation of eating disorder,” added the spokesperson.
If the clinical needs of individual children or adults cannot be met by HSE services, occasionally referrals are made to specialist units in the UK and funded through the treatment abroad scheme or the mental health division.