Analysis: Treatment times for eating disorders between regions

In April 2018, we analysed data from the new Mental Health Five Year Forward View Dashboard published by NHS England to compare regional performance on eating disorder waiting times for children and young people.

By 2020/21, 95% of children and young people under the age of 19 are expected to be able to start NICE-approved treatment within a week for urgent cases and within four weeks for routine cases. The analysis revealed that while England is on track overall to meet this waiting time standard, there remains considerable variation between the four regions.

Data for the first two quarters of 2017/18 (April-September 2017) was reported in the NHS England dashboard. Waiting times statistics for previous quarters were combined to enable comparisons.

  • Performance in every region of England was found to have improved for both urgent and routine cases in the first half of 2017/18 compared to the same six months in 2016/17
  • 84% of urgent cases in London started treatment within the one-week target during the most recent period, compared to only 68% in the North of England
  • The gap between those two regions has narrowed since the same period of 2016/17, when it was more than 22 percentage points.
  • We found the same outliers in relation to routine cases, with 88% of patients beginning their treatment within the four-week window in London compared to 78% in the North of England.
  • Performance in London was found to have improved dramatically compared to the same period in 2016/17, when it was actually the region with the lowest percentage of cases seen within four weeks, at just 62%.
Across the country, the proportion of urgent cases being seen within one week is:
 Q1-Q2 2016/17  Q3-Q4 2016/17  Q1-Q2 2017/18 
ENGLAND  61.5%  67.9%  72.1% 
NORTH OF ENGLAND  52.2%  65.1%  67.7% 
MIDLANDS AND EAST OF ENGLAND  66.9%  67.9%  72.2% 
LONDON  74.6%  89.3%  84.4% 
SOUTH OF ENGLAND  58.4%  60.8%  72.4% 
Across the country, the proportion of routine cases being seen within four weeks is: 
 Q1-Q2 2016/17  Q3-Q4 2016/17  Q1-Q2 2017/18 
ENGLAND  66.3%  78.9%  80.6% 
NORTH OF ENGLAND  63.4%  76.2%  78.1% 
MIDLANDS AND EAST OF ENGLAND  66.2%  80.9%  80.6% 
LONDON  62.2%  78.4%  88.3% 
SOUTH OF ENGLAND  70.8%  79.2%  79.2% 

Notes on sources

  1. The data for the first two quarters of the 2017/18 financial year is included in the latest NHS England Mental Health Five Year Forward View Dashboard, published on Thursday 29 March.

    The dashboard, which collates a range of statistical measures on funding and access across a number of NHS mental health services, is available on their website (accessed on 15 May 2018).
  2. Waiting times data for previous quarters was accessed on the NHS England website. Waiting times data for children and young people with eating disorders is published on a quarterly basis.

    The number of cases for two quarters were combined to enable comparison with the period covered in the new dashboard. Full waiting times data is available on their website (accessed on 15 May 2018).
Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry