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Hospital admissions for eating disorders rise 8% in a year

Admission rates were highest in the North East and South West

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The number of patients treated by hospitals for eating disorders has risen by 8 per cent in a year, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

In the 12 months to October 2013 hospitals dealt with 2,560 eating disorder admissions, compared with 2,370 admissions in the previous 12 months.

Patients admitted to hospital for an eating disorder were likely to stay in hospital for a longer period than patients admitted for other conditions. Length of stay was known in 2,189 cases of eating disorder and of these about one in five patients were admitted and discharged on the same day compared to two in three for all types of patients. One in 17 patients with an eating disorder stayed in hospital for longer than six months (6%) compared to three in 10,000 of all admission cases (0.03%).

The ‘Provisional Monthly Hospital Episode Statistics for Admitted Patient Care, Outpatients and Accident and Emergency Data - April 2013 to October 2013’ report published today also shows that in the 12 months to October 2013 the majority of admissions did not require a procedure. Only 23 admissions (0.9%) were treated by “intubation of the stomach”. This is less than the number performed in the previous 12 months (36 intubation procedures or 1.5%).

North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and South West SHA had the highest rate of admissions for an eating disorder (6.5 per 100,000 of the population) and West Midlands SHA had the lowest rate (3.5 per 100,000 of the population).

In the last year there were nine times as many females (2,320) as males (240) admitted to hospital for an eating disorder and this is similar to figures in the previous year. The most common age for female admissions was 15 years old and for males 13 years.

Three in four admissions were for anorexia, one in 20 were for bulimia, and other eating disorders accounted for one in five admissions, which is similar to the same period in 2011-12.

Kingsley Manning, HSCIC chair, said: "Today's report shows a national increase in the demand placed on hospitals by patients with an eating disorder. Hospitals not only dealt with more patients with an eating disorder than last year but compared to other admission types patients with these disorders tend to stay longer in hospital, which will be of significant interest to staff caring for these patients and those planning services."

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