Waiting times for children and young people with eating disorders receiving treatment are decreasing, but cases themselves are on the rise, new figures have revealed.
NHS England says that 236 patients out of 307 nationwide (76.9 per cent) requiring urgent referrals were given treatment within a week from December 2017 to January 2018.
It compares with 155 patients out of 239 (64.9 per cent) in January 2016 seen within a week.
Routine cases also saw reduced waiting times, 1,238 out of 1,489 patients (83.1 per cent) started treatment within four weeks compared with 596 from 915 (65.1 per cent) from January 2016.
NHS figures involved cases of patients aged up to 19 years of age.
However concerns have been raised as the number of eating disorder cases among children and young people has risen from 1,154 to 1,796 (55 per cent) since 2016.
It has prompted calls for a greater focus on early intervention.
NHS England insists it is working towards its 2020 target of 95 per cent of under 19s being referred for treatment within a week in urgent cases, and four weeks in routine cases.
A spokesperson said: “The eating disorders data shows greater numbers of children and young people are receiving the care they need swiftly.
“We’ve seen an important increase in young people getting routine care within four weeks and a significant improvement in treatment times compared with last year.
"Alongside the new waiting time standard, 70 dedicated community eating disorders services are being developed and recruitment to get the teams up to full capacity is underway.”
For more information and support on eating disorders, visit Counselling Directory.