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Eating Disorders Plan – a plan for a plan

Jackie Blue MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

3 April 2008

Eating Disorders Plan – a plan for a plan

After almost nine years of inaction on eating disorder services, an eating disorders report has finally appeared on the Ministry of Health’s website, says National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Jackie Blue.

“Titled optimistically ‘Future Directions for Eating Disorder Services in New Zealand’, it stresses it is a guide only and reads depressingly like a plan for a plan.

“The Ministry of Health would appear to be attempting to deliver on a promise made nearly two years ago to produce a national plan for eating disorders by June last year.

“It can’t be coincidence that this rushed and belated plan for a plan comes after I highlighted the hold-up earlier in the week.”

Under the new ‘plan for a plan’, DHBs have been given three months to provide a plan with timeframes and workforce development initiatives that will improve their eating disorder services – all to be developed and prioritised according to their other mental health and addiction services.

“We could end up with 21 different plans with 21 different timeframes and even worse disparity in services.

“Waikato DHB, one of the four Midland DHBs that have no eating disorder service, admitted at the Health Select Committee that they were unaware they even needed to provide a plan.”

Dr Blue said she had information that in 2007 the number of people seen by the Waikato DHB with an eating disorder was provisionally reported in single digits, but for its population the Future Directions report says the real incidence would be 1,700.

“The real tragedy here is that as a result of Labour’s inaction many, many patients have gone undiagnosed and untreated.”


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