In 2012, 19-year-old student Averil Hart, who was unwell with anorexia nervosa, tragically died. An inquest has recently concluded that her death was preventable, and that various failings by the healthcare system had contributed to it.
Beat’s Chief Executive, Andrew Radford, says:
‘People should not die from eating disorders. Averil Hart’s death is a tragedy, and our hearts are with her family who must be going through so much turmoil at this time. The inquest’s conclusion has made clear that if timely treatment was given to Averil, the outcome could have been very different, and it must not happen again.
‘Unfortunately Beat is all too aware of the inadequacies in many eating disorder services and the inconsistencies between them. A history of underfunding and low levels of teaching for healthcare professionals have left many services under-resourced and understaffed. But we also know many individuals go on to live fulfilling lives, free of their eating disorder and anyone who becomes unwell should be given the best chance of recovery.
‘There is a real need for more investment into eating disorder services, with adequate staffing addressed as a priority and this is more important than ever as we see contacts to our helpline services double over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘The Government cannot ignore the results of the inquest. We must see more investment in services and staffing, more efforts made to diagnose and treat eating disorders as quickly as possible, alongside more education for healthcare professionals, beginning in medical schools.’
This tragedy, along with so many others like it, has shown us that it is more important than ever to get our voices heard, to stand up and speak for those who need us right now.
On the 1 December, Beat’s Campaigns Team are running a free webinar to show how we can still campaign to improve the lives of those affected by eating disorders. Join them as they talk through what 2020 has meant for campaigning, what you can do virtually and advise how you can raise awareness with the people who can make the changes we need to see.
To find out more or book your place, sign up here.