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‘You’re just going to leave me to die’: Harrowing plea of anorexia patient told she was ‘too thin’ for help

“So you’re just gonna leave me to die? That’s what you’re doing? Because I can’t do that, I’m telling you: I’ve been trying to do that, and I can’t. So now what?”

Over a year on, Amy, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, is still waiting for an answer – and for the help she desperately needs.

The 30-year-old, who has battled anorexia since she was 16 and has been admitted to hospital multiple times, was responding to her eating disorder psychiatrist telling her the service could no longer help her.

Amy was told to try to get better on her own by upping her calorie intake, and was warned that she could only be referred to her GP for emergency help if her BMI dropped below 13. A healthy level is between 18 and 25.

She is just one example of what experts fear is a growing number of patients who are being told they are “too thin” for care, as stretched NHS services attempt to “ration” the help they offer in an effort to manage demand.

Amy complained to the NHS East of England commissioners about the decision by psychiatrists to withdraw her treatment.

In a response seen by The Independent, the service treating Amy admitted the move was not conventional.

“The decision to use this approach is not taken lightly, but is seen as positive risk management, intended to empower the person to meet their goals for recovery with the support of their GP, who will medically monitor their health, with a clear aim of [the service] ultimately engaging the person in active treatment following a period of self-recovery,” it said.

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Source: The Independent, 21 August 2023

Related reading on the hub:

People with eating disorders should not face stigma in the health system and barriers to accessing support in 2022



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