THE FAMILY of a Flintshire woman who died from an eating disorder say she "did not receive the care and treatment she deserved".

Amy-Bronwen Ellis died at her home at Main Road, Broughton on May 22, 2023.

At County Hall in Ruthin on Friday (March 22), an inquest was held into the 43-year-old's death.

Miss Ellis' family told the inquest that she was "let down" by the NHS, believing she was wrongly diagnosed with a personality disorder, instead of an eating disorder.

Miss Ellis, who had a global following on TikTok where she profiled her battle with the eating disorder to help raise awareness, had been trying to raise enough money to fund specialist treatment with the Priory Group in England which she was told was not available on the NHS.

The treatment involved a combination of cognitive and behavioural therapy as well as information on diet and body image support.

At the inquest on Friday, her mother, Lynne, said that her daughter was "determined to get better and begged the eating disorders team to fund inpatient care at the Priory clinic".

Dr Samantha Sharpe from the Adult Eating Disorder Service at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board (BCUHB) told the inquest that Ms Ellis had been referred to several agencies for help and offered appointments.

But "each time there was a reason why she couldn't attend", she said, even after appointments were rearranged.

Dr Sharpe said that she later wrote a letter to Ms Ellis, saying: "I don't think you're ready to engage but when you are please let us know."

She said funding had been agreed in 2019 for referral for inpatient treatment, but at that stage Ms Ellis, a voluntary worker before her health deteriorated, did not want to be admitted to hospital.

However, Mrs Ellis said on at least one occasion, her daughter had attended an online appointment which the doctor failed to.

Chester and District Standard: Amy with her mum, Lynne, who described her as her soulmate.Amy with her mum, Lynne, who described her as her soulmate. (Image: Family photo)

"We were sitting waiting on the Teams meeting for 45 minutes, and no one turned up," she said. 

Dr Sharpe said Miss Ellis had "disordered eating" habits, rather than an eating disorder in its truest sense. She said that Miss Ellis had a personality disorder, which they attempted to treat her for. Dr Sharpe said focusing on the eating disorder would have been doing Miss Ellis a "disservice", as it was a "coping mechanism for intolerable emotions". 

A post-mortem examination revealed Miss Ellis died of bilateral pneumonia as a result of malnutrition because of an eating disorder. At the time of her death, she weighed five stone.

John Gittins, senior coroner for North Wales East and Central, recorded a narrative conclusion at a Ruthin inquest that Miss Ellis died on May 22 due to a condition arising from malnutrition because of a long-term eating disorder for which she was never successfully treated.

The coroner said: "I realise and recognise the complexity of this particular condition.” While her family felt she was "let down and significantly so" he didn’t feel the need to issue a Prevention of Future Deaths report as he was satisfied from the evidence from the health board's representatives that sufficient services are in place.

"I recognise and applaud the efforts Amy made, even in the final stages of her illness, to help others," Mr Gittins added.

Chester and District Standard: Miss Ellis' family and friends pictured outside the coroner's court on Friday.Miss Ellis' family and friends pictured outside the coroner's court on Friday. (Image: Newsquest)

He added that he hoped there would be "continued reflection" about the tragedy, but he respected the views of two doctors who gave evidence. “It’s not an easy job you do either,” the coroner told them.

Mrs Ellis said: "She was a kind, caring person. Her TikTok followers are devastated by her death."

Her daughter was an “amazing artist” and loved children.

She added: "Amy and others with eating disorders need help, help denied my daughter,” she told the coroner. “She didn’t wish to die of this and was determined to get better.

"She was making future plans right up until her death, she wanted to travel, and become a foster parent and set up a charity devoted to supporting people with eating disorders."