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Inquest into the death of anorexic woman following allegations she received insufficient care

The inquest into the death of 19-year-old Averil Hart has begun.

Posted on 29 September 2020

In December 2012, Averil was found unconscious on the floor of her university flat. She was taken to hospital but it took a further three days for the local eating disorder specialist to attend. Her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where she died three days later. 
 
The ombudsman report into Averil’s death, published in December 2017 and titled, Ignoring the alarms: How NHS eating disorder services are failing patients, was the first to highlight concerns over the care provided by Trusts to patients with eating disorders. 
 
The report concluded that every NHS organisation involved in Averil’s care had failed in some way. It also made five recommendations relating to the improvement of treatment for eating disorders nationwide but a Commons report, published 18 months later, said that insufficient progress had been made. 
 
Inquests into the deaths of four other women at Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust following the allegations of insufficient care have already taken place.  The coroner is expected to write a prevention of future deaths report calling for urgent changes to eating disorder services nationwide. 
 
Emma Jones, solicitor at Leigh Day who represents the family of Averil Hart, said:
 
“It has taken seven years to reach this point. We are heartened that this coroner has recognised the seriousness of these issues which we know affect not just these five women but several individuals across the country.
 
“We hope that through this four-week inquest the issues will be explored fully and if failings are identified that lessons will be learnt which might go some way to preventing such tragic loss of life.”