Cambridgeshire

Woman with anorexia 'faced delays' before death

Maddy Image copyright WALLACE FAMILY
Image caption Madeline Wallace, 18, had severe anorexia and died due to complications with sepsis

A woman described as a "high risk" anorexia patient faced delays in treatment after moving to university, an inquest has heard.

Madeline Wallace, 18, from Cambridgeshire, was told there could be a six-week delay in her seeing a specialist after moving to Edinburgh.

The student "struggled" while at university and a coroner said there appeared to be a "gap" in her care.

Ms Wallace died on 9 January 2018 due to complications from sepsis.

Clinical psychologist, Dr Penny Hazel of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT), said while treating Ms Wallace she "had an awareness" of similar themes between her case and that of Averil Hart, who died in 2012.

Miss Hart, 19, from Newton, Suffolk, died after she experienced rapid weight loss while at university.

A parliamentary health service ombudsman report into her death was being written at the time of Ms Wallace's treatment in 2017 and issues raised included moving from one provider to another and higher education.

The inquest at Huntingdon Law Courts heard Ms Wallace was "extremely motivated" about her degree but was concerned about losing weight unless she had help.

Coroner Sean Horstead said Ms Wallace also only had one dietician meeting in three months, despite meal preparation and planning being an area of anxiety she had raised.

Dr Hazel said she had tried to make arrangements with the Cullen Centre in Edinburgh in April 2017 but had been told to call back in August.

The Cullen Centre said it could only accept her as a patient after she registered with a GP and that an appointment could take up to six weeks from that point.

Image copyright WALLACE FAMILY
Image caption Ms Wallace was told there could be a six-week delay in her seeing a specialist

Ms Wallace returned home to "focus on her recovery" in December 2017.

Due to "significant weight loss" her family questioned whether an urgent admission to a specialist unit was required but this was dismissed as not a "practicable or necessary" option by the Cambridgeshire team.

The inquest continues.

If you are affected by any of the issues in this story, you can talk in confidence to eating disorders charity Beat by calling its adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

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