Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    New clinic to treat eating disorders

    6/07/2005 12:00 AM

    A new clinic using a revolutionary treatment program has been opened in Perth for people suffering from eating disorders.

    Western Australia’s first specialised eating disorders clinic is expected to treat hundreds of teenagers and adults suffering from disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

    The Parliamentary Secretary to the Health Minister, Sue Ellery, said the new service would treat patients using what is known as the Oxford Model, a successful new treatment program from the United Kingdom.

    “The Oxford Model has dramatically reduced drop-out rates which have plagued other treatment programs for eating disorders,” Ms Ellery said.

    “The program has reported success in 72 per cent of patients in the UK, compared with success rates of about 30-50 per cent with previous treatments.

    “We hope the clinic can achieve this type of success rate in WA to help the hundreds of teenagers and adults with an eating disorder.”

    Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness in girls and young women in WA, affecting one in 100 young women. Almost one in five chronic patients dies within 20 years.

    Currently, Princess Margaret Hospital offers the only public treatment program for teenagers with eating disorders but there is no dedicated service for adults or teenagers aged 16 and over.

    The new service will be staffed by four clinicians based at the North Metropolitan Area Health Service’s Centre for Clinical Interventions in Northbridge.

    Ms Ellery said the Oxford program focused on changing a patient’s thoughts and feelings about food, and eating behaviours through a series of tailor-made therapy sessions.

    “The major difference between the Oxford Model and other treatments is that it specifically tailors programs to suit individual patients, focusing on the factors that keep the disorder going rather than just what triggered it,” she said.

    “This approach helps patients break out of the vicious cycle of eating disorders and greatly reduces drop out rates.”

    The State Government will commit $320,000 a year to the service, plus give a one-off grant of $28,000 to help establish the clinic.

    The new eating disorders clinic is part of the Gallop Government's commitment to improving mental health services for all Western Australians.

    The Government has committed an additional $173million for mental health funding over the next three years to make WA the first State to allocate more than 9 per cent of the total health budget on mental health services.

    Minister's office: 9220 5000