The mother of a Galway teenage girl with anorexia says she and her husband have paid out over €26,000 for private treatment.
Paula Walsh, who is now 19, has been suffering with the illness since she was 12-years-old.
She is now in the Lois Bridges facility in Dublin, a private treatment centre, after she deteriorated very rapidly last November.
Her mother, Suzanne, told Lunchtime Live she was first admitted into a Galway psychiatric unit and then had to be transferred to a medical unit and tube-fed for five days.
"The psychiatric ward just didn't have any facilities for eating disorders at all - there was no specialised nursing, there was no counsellors".
"My husband and I had to sit with her for the five days for 24 hours a day - there's a thing called re-feeding syndrome which can cause complications and cause someone to go into cardiac arrest.
"We had to sit with her, basically, 24 hours a day to keep an eye on her".
Suzanne says they talked to her consultant about the possibility of a private facility "because there is no public eating disorder facility in the country".
"The only available place at the time was Lois Bridges".
"She is doing well at the moment in Lois Bridges - I couldn’t praise them enough, they have been absolutely fantastic."
She says the Health Service Executive (HSE) is willing to pay for some of her treatment.
"Just yesterday we got confirmation that they will pay eight weeks of her treatment - now the programme is a minimum of 12 weeks.
"Myself and my husband have already paid over €26,000 to Lois Bridges since she's been there.
"Per week, it's 3,150 a week - and then we would have her GP visits and that".
"We were told from the word go she was a very serious case and that the chances were she would need longer than the 12 weeks".
"It's a serious, serious mental illness - it has a really high mortality rate - and it's just not recognised.
"The community care for the adult service is absolutely abysmal, really".
She says anorexia should be recognised as a serious illness and treatment centres set up.
"I would urge someone from the HSE to go into the hospital, watch someone with anorexia be tube fed - and the trauma they go through, and the mental trauma they go through".
"We feel like as if nobody cares, and they don't seem to understand the seriousness of it".
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