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Health minister praises courage of anorexics

Jan 13 2012

B.C.'s health minister says he will explore solutions and incorporate information into the province's new eating disorder plan that he received during a "powerful" meeting with anorexics in Victoria Thursday.

B.C. Health Minister Mike de Jong sat down with seven representatives from Advocacy for Adults with Eating Disorders.

"I think it took a lot of courage for these folks to come in and talk in very personal terms about their condition and the obstacles and challenges they have faced," said de Jong.

"They did so very passionately, but also in a very constructive way and stated where they saw solutions."

The B.C. government is poised to finalize its eating disorder plan that will address gaps in the system.

"Probably the best thing to emerge from the discussion - besides a first-hand education for myself - is their willingness to work directly with us to embark on some changes," de Jong said.

The health minister will review the province's new plans to close gaps in the health-care system with association representatives.

There are just three publicly funded eating disorder residential programs for adults in B.C.

St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver has seven inpatient beds, Vancouver Coastal Health's Vista house has eight beds and Woodstone Residence, on Galiano Island, offers 20 beds for people aged 17 to 24.

Adult chronic anorexics complain that there is no long-term residential recovery program in B.C. and that a referral to be sent out of the country is in the hands of one or two doctors at St. Paul's.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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