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Increased admissions to paediatric wards with a primary mental health diagnosis: results of a survey of a network of eating disorder paediatricians in England
  1. Lee D Hudson1,2,
  2. Simon Chapman3,4,
  3. Karen Nicola Street5,
  4. Dasha Nicholls6,
  5. Damian Roland7,8,
  6. Bernadka Dubicka9,10,
  7. Faith Gibson2,11,
  8. Gabrielle Mathews12,
  9. Russell M Viner1
  1. 1 Population, Policy and Practice Research Programme, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Library, London, UK
  2. 2 Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Trust, London, UK
  3. 3 Child Health, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  4. 4 Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  5. 5 Paediatrics, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK
  6. 6 Department of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, London, UK
  7. 7 Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  8. 8 Paediatric Emergency Medicine Leicester Academic (PEMLA) Group, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  9. 9 The Cove, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Preston, UK
  10. 10 Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  11. 11 University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
  12. 12 CYP Transformation Team, NHS England and NHS Improvement London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lee D Hudson, Population, Policy & Practice Research Programme, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Library, London WC1N 1EH, UK; l.hudson{at}

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A 2019 survey reported that 6% of the general paediatric inpatient beds in the UK were occupied by children and young people (CYP) with a primary mental health disorder.1 Data suggest a significant impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of CYP,2 3 with anecdotal reports of increased CYP with mental health problems in acute paediatric care, although the impact on inpatient care has not been studied. We surveyed a network of paediatricians with an interest in eating disorders about their experiences of inpatient admissions for mental health reasons in the first quarter of 2021.


This is an anonymous online survey, circulated in April 2021, to an established network of 62 paediatricians from 62 paediatric units in England. We asked for estimates of numbers, proportions and clinical care required for patients admitted with primary …

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  • Twitter @eatyourpeas, @damian_roland, @gabriellealphon

  • Contributors LDH and SC conceived the survey and designed it with KNS. LDH collected the data and prepared the first draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.