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Sunshine Coast to trial eating disorder pilot program

More funding to treat eating disorders

Brisbane eating disorder clinic, Centre for Integrative Health, will open a new clinic on the Sunshine Coast next month as part of a federally-funded pilot program to help individuals and their families affected by eating disorders.


Centre for Integrative Health Psychologist, Dr Kiera Buchanan, and Accredited Practicing Dietician, Kate Lane, will head treatment at their new Buddina clinic.


Under the pilot program, psychology and dietitian services will be extended for people with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other specified eating disorders.


Dr Buchanan says according to treatment standards 20-40 sessions of specialist support is required to achieve recovery from an eating disorder. However, Medicare currently only covers 10 sessions with a psychologist and five sessions with a dietitian.


Under the changes, support will be extended to up to 50 psychology sessions per year and up to 20 dietitian sessions.


“It is hoped that through increased access to affordable treatment from specialist treatment providers, the prevalence of eating disorders in Australia will be significantly reduced,” Dr Buchanan says.


She says the changes, expected to be rolled out nation-wide as of November 2019, will directly benefit an estimated 30,000 Australians living with an eating disorder each year.


“Eating disorders and disordered eating together are estimated to affect more than 16 per cent of the Australian population, " she says.


"Eating disorders also have the highest rate of mortality of all mental-health conditions, highlighting the need to target this population."


Dr Buchanan says its anticipated access to specialist care for those living with an eating disorder will reduce the burden on the hospital system.


"Left untreated, the average duration of an eating disorder is seven years," she says.


"However, with the correct support, full recovery from an eating disorder is always possible."


Centre for Integrative Health’s new Sunshine Coast clinic will commence treating patients on March 1.