A DESPERATE mum has warned that her anorexic daughter ‘will die’ if she does not receive more help from the NHS.
One of Jasmin Hussain’s kidneys has almost been completely destroyed by the eating disorder, but she has been told she is currently too weak for a transplant.
Mum Gill Barlow said mental health officials have so far failed to arrange specialist care for her, which has resulted in repeated emergency admissions to general wards at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.
She said: “This has been going on about two years, and now we’re looking at the possibility she could die. She should be in an eating disorder unit with the right specialists giving her the attention she needs.
“We’ve been told she’ll definitely need dialysis and a kidney transplant, but she’ll need to be in a better physical state before that happens, and she can’t do that without more help.”
Jasmin, who lives with her mum in Ripon Street, Blackburn, has been under the care of the East Lancashire Eating Disorder Service, based at Daisyfield Mill, but this does not cater for patients with acute problems.
Gill, 40, added: “It all seems to be about money because the eating disorder service just aren’t equipped to deal with cases as complex as Jasmin’s, who is also bi-polar and has type 2 bulimia.
“I think they are starting to realise that she needs proper 24-hour care and they’re now trying to get her into the Priory Hospital in Preston, a specialist unit, but it’s been two years and we’re still waiting.
“There’s a real lack of knowledge about anorexia, especially when she’d admitted to the Royal Blackburn, where they never know what to do with her. I’ve heard consultants say that she should ‘just eat’, but it’s mental illness and it’s not that simple.”
Jasmin, a former pupil at Tauheedul Islam Girls' High School, is 5ft 5in tall and weighs six stone, giving her a Body Mass Index (BMI) of just 14, which is well below the recommended minimum of 18.5.
Her condition has become so severe that her stomach automatically repels food, and Gill said she had to ‘fight till she was blue in the face’ for the NHS to provide a peg-feed, which can be inserted through her stomach.
But when Jasmin’s mental state deteriorates she stops using the feed, which results in her being rushed to hospital with renal failure, due to dehydration and low potassium levels.
Shelley Perry, of Lancashire-based Breathe, a non-profit organisation which specialises in eating disorders, said: “It’s very difficult to get appropriate help on the NHS. This is partly due to funding, but also because commissioners view anorexia and bulimia as physcial health problems rather than mental illnesses. You’d think much more funding would be allocated because eating disorders have higher death rates than other psychiatric conditions.”
Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group said it could not respond fully in time for our deadline, despite being given more than 24 hours, but said the Eating Disorder Service will be a priority in its commissioning plans for 2015/16.
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which actually runs the service, declined to comment on a specific case.
And the Royal Blackburn Hospital said that they had not received a complaint about Jasmin’s care.