The number of people hospitalised with an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia reached a high of 13,885 in between April 2016 and April 2017, latest figures from NHS Digital reveal. The figures are the highest they have been in at least a decade. 

A rise in the number of admissions for teenage girls and women in their early 20s lies been behind the increase. The number of under 19 admissions for anorexia went from 1,050 to 2,025 during the month examined. 

The UK’s leading eating disorder charity, Beat, said that calls to their helpline are expected to reach 17,000 by March, an increase of 7,000 from last year.  

MPs, doctors and activists have cautioned that the upsurge in admissions suggested outpatient treatment was not working successfully, resulting in more people ending up severely ill and in need of hospital care. Patients are usually only hospitalised in an inpatient setting if they are considered to be at high medical or psychiatric danger or are not able to improve without serious intervention. 

They also warned that inconsistent coverage of services are causing people to relocate to get effective care. Anorexia sufferer, Leigh Wilson-Hawley, 32, told City News that she struggled to find available treatment. Leigh’s eating disorder developed while she was at school. At one point, she was told she had one week to live.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Inpatient treatment should be seen as a last resort, that’s why we have set out plans to expand community-based care for eating disorders – 70 dedicated community eating disorders services are being developed and recruitment to get the teams up to full capacity is under way.”