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Eating Disorder Sufferers ‘lost In The System’

Today Rebecca Toms, a Christchurch mother of an eating disorder survivor, presented a petition to parliament urging the Government to provide ‘Urgent expert care and subsidy assistance for young people with eating disorders’.

Ms Toms petition was received by the National Party’s mental health spokesperson Matt Doocey.

“New Zealand desperately needs specialised care for young people struggling with eating disorders,” says Ms Toms. “The public and private system is full to the brim and wait lists are too long. People are being lost in the system.

“Whether you are on the waiting list or declined from the waitlist, there is no support provided by Government.

“My daughter had a life-threatening illness and we had no idea where to turn to. The healthcare system wouldn’t take her, and the waitlists were full. The only support available was EDANZ, a group of six volunteers.”

EDANZ Chair Nicki Wilson says the demand on eating disorder services is unprecedented. “We are the only service bridging the gap between diagnosis and treatment. The Ministry of Health uses us as a holding pen for people who have been rejected from a waitlist, or those on the waiting list.

“Eating disorders are the deadliest of mental health conditions, it’s unacceptable to wait until people need medical stabilization in hospital before they receive any expert care.

“The Government needs to ensure early and expert treatment is available to all New Zealanders.”

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