Investigation into anorexic teenager’s death to be reviewed

An investigation into the death of an anorexic teenager is to be reviewed by the same body which produced the initial findings.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 4:07 pm
Averil Hart

Averil Hart (19) died following a series of failures that involved every NHS organisation that cared for her, including the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, according to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

The PHSO is now reviewing its own investigation, with the announcement coming a month after a coroner decided to look into whether five deaths relating to eating disorders - including Averil’s - are linked.

Averil’s dad Nic Hart has been a vocal campaigner since his daughter’s death and told the Peterborough Telegraph in February 2018 that there were questions still to answer following the PSHO’s original report from December 2017.

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Averil had died five years earlier, and the report disclosed a number of failings across the NHS.

It also heavily criticised CPFT for its investigation into Averil’s death, which was described as “maladministration”.

Trust chief executive Tracy Dowling, who was not in her current role when Averil died, has previously told the PT that a number of changes have been made since, including putting in place a policy for eating disorder patients who are classed as high risk.

Averil had been admitted to the Eating Disorders Unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge which the trust runs.

A spokesperson for the PSHO said: “We have always been clear that there were lessons for us to learn from the process we followed in this case and are reviewing this to make sure they have been addressed through the improvements we have since made to our service.

“We will publish our review and share it with Mr Hart and PACAC (Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee) once concluded.”