New figures released by NHS England indicate that waiting times for routine child and adolescent eating disorder services have shortened.

The experimental figures published today show that 81.2% of patients referred for routine treatment were seen within four weeks in the first quarter of 2018/19 against 79.9% in the previous quarter. However, waiting times for urgent treatment lengthened over the same period, with 74.7% of patients seen within the one-week target compared to 78.9% in the previous quarter.

NHS England has committed to improving access to community eating disorder services and the referral to treatment standard states that by 2020, 95% of children and young people under the age of 19 should receive NICE-approved treatment within one week for urgent cases and within four weeks for routine cases.

National eating disorder charity Beat welcomed the indication that national figures for routine treatment appear to be on track but said regional variation needed to be addressed.

Services in the south east and south west saw a lower proportion of patients within the waiting times standards than services in other regions.

Beat CEO Andrew Radford said:there is still a postcode lottery when it comes to how long children and young people wait for treatment. While this is partly because some services are new and are still developing, the NHS must do more to ensure all local services have the resources to provide evidence-based treatment fast.’