Australians suffering from chronic eating disorders are finding themselves tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket in order to pay for life-saving treatment.
Fiona Wright is one of more than a million Australians living with an eating disorder and has spent more than $75,000 to get well.
The 34-year-old first turned to the public health system but found it 'woefully inadequate' and was faced with a 52-week-long wait to receive hospital care.
Fiona Wright, 34, (pictured) is one of more than a million Australians living with an eating disorder and has spent more than $75,000 in order to pay for life-saving treatmentiPhone transfer software
'Before I got sick I always had this idea that people who get sick are taken care of,' she told the ABC's 7.30 Report.
'And it was such a sharp and steep learning curve to discover that really isn't the case.'
Treatment for eating disorders falls under the Government's mental health care plan which provides Medicare rebates for 10 sessions with a specialist, but after that patients are left to pay for themselves.
'Eating disorder patients need about nine times this,' Ms Wright told The Guardian and many health professionals agree that 10 sessions are just not enough.
Eating disorders are notoriously difficult illnesses to treat, and their chronic and enduring nature often means sufferers spend many years and see many specialists to receive treatment.
Ms Wright (pictured after she received treatment) first turned to the public health system but found it 'woefully inadequate' and was faced with a 52-week-long wait to receive hospital care
Ms Wright said she found public services to be underfunded and under resourced, forcing her to see a series of private specialists over the course of seven or eight years.
'I've calculated – taking into account all of these rebates, but not including my health insurance premiums or the cost of my medications - that I've spent more than $75,000,' she told The Guardian.
The Butterfly Foundation, a non-profit support group which advocates for people with eating disorders, has called on the government to improve public health services to this underfunded area.
'I've calculated – taking into account all of these rebates, but not including my