Harrogate mum says 'incompetence' has put her daughter with anorexia in intensive care

Tanya Skelly. Picture: Adrian Murray
Tanya Skelly. Picture: Adrian Murray
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The mother of a young woman with anorexia has slammed the mental health services in Harrogate for an 'incompetence' which has left her daughter in intensive care.

Tanya Skelly said her 20-year-old daughter had been under the care of the mental health staff in the Briary Wing at Harrogate District Hospital, a service which is run by Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust.

On the ward, Mrs Skelly's daughter's observation level was classed as 'eyesight', which means patients must be within eyesight of staff at all times to ensure they don't resort to things like 'overloading with water' instead of eating.

But Mrs Skelly said that on Monday afternoon (February 19), a decision was taken to remove her daughter from the eyesight level without her consent.

She added that 'within hours' her daughter had overloaded with a dangerous amount of water, causing her to have violent seizures and ended up in intensive care.

She said: "When I'm saying lots of water I'm talking 10 litres a day, bottles and bottles and bottles. When you have that much water you flush out all the sodium in your body. Your brain is the only part of your body that needs sodium.

"By 6pm the crash team was around her and they took her into A&E. She ended up on a ventilator, she was on life support, within hours of this incompetence."

Mrs Skelly said that she felt 'let down' by a service which was meant to keep her daughter safe, but emphasised that the mental health nurses and staff in intensive care have been 'amazing'.

She said: "I feel very let down by it, it shouldn't have got this bad, she should have been transferred to an eating disorder unit. She was there to be kept safe.

"The staff and nurses have been amazing but they take orders from people above them who don't understand the severity of the illness even though they are medically trained.

"We feel completely let down that my daughter ended up in intensive care within hours of being taken off Eyesight. Their duty of care wasn't good enough.

"When you have an eating disorder you just want to go home and be able to control things."

Mrs Skelly said her daughter has suffered with anorexia for a long time, and "has been pushed from pillar to the extent that it is risking her life".

She said: "My daughter has been suffering with this from the age of 14. We have been battling this illness for such a long time and for people to understand us and what we are going through as a family.

"Having an eating disorder is very difficult in itself, it all goes back to mental health. You feel as though you have one step forward and then 50 steps back."

Prior to her most recent admission to hospital, Mrs Skelly said her daughter had been in hospital throughout December last year until doctors recommended that she be discharged just before Christmas.

Mrs Skelly said: "I was on my knees begging for her not to be discharged. After two weeks she was back in there."

She added: "We are just putting a sticky plaster on this. She needs to be on an eating disorder unit. She won't open the door, she won't interact with them and they say well there are 20 patients behind her that will interact with us but my daughter is crying out for help."

Mrs Skelly has lodged a formal complaint against Tees, Esk and Wear Valley (TEWV) Trust.

A spokesperson for TEWV said: “We’re aware the patient’s family are unhappy with her care and treatment and we have met with them to try and resolve this.

"We’re sorry to hear they still have concerns and we would ask them to please get back in touch with us if they wish to discuss anything further.

"It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment publicly on the personal details of an individual’s care.”