Coroner to rule on whether action must be taken to prevent further deaths similar to Wymondham teenager
PUBLISHED: 08:01 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:47 18 March 2019
A coroner will reveal today whether authorities responsible for Wymondham teenager Ellie Long are required to make changes after her death.
Ellie, 15, died on December 12, 2017.
She suffered with anorexia and a senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake said at the conclusion of the inquest into her death: “Ellie Long took action which ended her life. The evidence does not reveal whether she intended to die.”
After the inquest, her family hit out at a litany of failings by mental health professionals.
MORE: Mother pays tribute to her ‘kind, gentle, and sincere’ daughter as coroner rules on teenager’s death
In a statement read by family solicitor Elisabeth Andresen, they said: “Ellie was a beautiful, intelligent and caring young lady with the most wonderful smile. She was kind, gentle and sincere and always put others needs and feelings before her own.
“She was and still is a cherished daughter, granddaughter and niece. To Hannah, not only was she a devoted sister but also a best friend.
“To explain our feelings of loss is to explain the unthinkable, there simply are no words.
“Ellie struggled with her mental health in the last few months of her life and we feel that she was not given the support and treatment she needed by the Eating Disorder Service (EDS).”
The inquest heard there were just six people in the team meant to be looking after Ellie when the number of referrals they were getting should have meant there were at least 20 people.
MORE: ‘Grey area’ in software meant ambulance was not sent to anorexic teenager before she took her own life
The family added: “It is imperative that healthcare providers listen to the concerns of their service users and their families to ensure they get the necessary support and treatment and that there is a clear plan of action in the event of an emergency.
“As we heard during the inquest there were a number of issues which impacted on the care Ellie received including a lack of available staff, failures in crisis planning and the need for better record keeping. Some of these were reiterated by the coroner today.”
MORE: Anorexic teen told therapist she ‘wanted to end it all’, inquest hears
Speaking after the inquest Bodham Solomka, medical director for Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) which runs the EDS, said: “The trust has undertaken a detailed review to learn as much as possible from Ellie’s passing and to implement positive improvements in its services including audits on record keeping. Staffing levels in the team are now at full strength.”
If a coroner feels lessons could be learned to prevent similar future deaths, they can issue a regulation 28 report.
The person, body or organisation in receipt of this report then has 56 days to provide the coroner with their response, to include details of the actions taken and to reassure the coroner that their concerns have been addressed to prevent future deaths.
MORE: ‘I feel let down by everyone’ - Family say they were ‘failed’ over death of anorexic daughter, 15
At the conclusion of the inquest Mrs Lake had not decided whether to issue the warning, and it will be revealed whether she has.