The NHS failings that cost Nikki Grahame her life

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Sumary of The NHS failings that cost Nikki Grahame her life:

  • Tragic Big Brother star Nikki Grahame was the victim of a series of NHS care failures that led to her ‘entirely avoidable’ death from anorexia, those closest to the 38-year-old have claimed..
  • They have also revealed Nikki’s ‘desperate struggle’ to get treatment over the last six months, during which time she was discharged from hospital twice while severely unwell, on one occasion weighing just three and a half stone – the equivalent of a seven-year-old child..
  • Tragic Big Brother star Nikki Grahame was the victim of a series of NHS care failures that led to her ‘entirely avoidable’ death from anorexia, those closest to the 38-year-old have claimed Experts say stories like Nikki’s are ‘not uncommon enough’..
  • ‘We know people are falling through the cracks,’ says Kerrie Jones, NHS eating disorder psychotherapist and chief executive officer of Orri – a private day treatment centre..
  • Nikki, who stole the nation’s heart with her effervescent and girlish charm on the 2006 series of Big Brother, suffered bouts of anorexia – the deadliest eating disorder – from the age of nine..
  • Nikki was under the care of an NHS eating disorder service in Central London, part of the Central and North West London Foundation Trust ‘for several years’, according to a friend..
  • ‘She’d struggled with erratic eating habits and excessive gym-going for years, but it was relatively well managed because she knew she had to stay well in order to keep working in the public eye,’ says a close friend..
  • ‘But when lockdown hit and she spent more time alone, it gave her an opportunity to focus on her disordered habits, while also hiding it from others..
  • It was seeded before lockdown, but the isolation spurred it on.’ She was around 5½st – at 5ft 1in, severely underweight – when she was admitted to the 14-bed Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service, where she stayed for a month..
  • Just 12 hours later, she was dead In a statement to this newspaper, the Central and North West London Foundation Trust said their ‘door remained always open’, but sources close to Nikki received few follow-up appointments..
  • A friend says Nikki saw several doctors for check-ups on her injuries over the following two months, but her critically low weight was never addressed..
  • By February, two close friends visited her London flat for the first time in six months and were shocked by her decline..
  • ‘She was on her own because of lockdown and there was no way of checking up on what she was or wasn’t eating..
  • On a few occasions we called ambulances to her flat in the hope that she’d be admitted to hospital and get into treatment that way.’ Nikki told friends she had been discharged by Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, so was ‘no longer on the books’ and so ineligible for treatment..
  • Nikki also told friends she had visited her GP to ask for an alternative eating disorder specialist clinic, but no referral was made..
  • Nikki, who stole the nation’s heart with her effervescent and girlish charm on the 2006 series of Big Brother (above), suffered bouts of anorexia – the deadliest eating disorder – from the age of nine Until recently, friends say, her condition was relatively stable..
  • Nikki with Pete Bennett Many private clinics do not have the medical facilities to care for severely ill patients, so require them to reach a body mass index (BMI) score of at least 12 before admission..
  • One private London clinic agreed to take her, so long as she could gain roughly a stone and a half before starting treatment on April 12, as otherwise the medical risk was considered too high..
  • Nikki was visibly underweight, and her doctors, suspecting that she was suffering from an eating disorder, called psychiatrists from the local mental health team to make an assessment..
  • It is not clear why she was not transferred to the Trust’s eating disorder specialist centre – but friends suggest it may have been due to a lack of available beds..
  • But the next day they let her get in a taxi on her own and travel home.’ Nikki arrived back in London early that evening and made phone calls to friends to tell them she’d arrived safely..
  • At the inquest, factors identified as contributors to her death included doctors who knew ‘practically nothing’ about anorexia, ‘no follow-up’ from the local eating disorder team and failure to provide life-saving treatment, such as a feeding tube, while under the care of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital..
  • In December 2016, 45-year-old Amanda Bowles, from Cambridge, was discharged by the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust’s eating disorder service despite her ‘critically low’ body mass index – and less than a year later was found dead in her flat..
  • According to a 2020 coroner’s report into the issue, these deaths are likely to be the tip of the iceberg, due to ‘significant under reporting’ when it comes to fatalities involving the eating disorders…

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