Probe Into Eating Disorder Clinic Boss

A former anorexia patient from England, who intends setting up a clinic for eating disorder patients in Northern Ireland, is the subject of an investigation by an English council, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.

Anna Auty, who runs the Individual Clinic for Eating Disorders in Bath, is hoping to come to Belfast soon to hold weekly sessions for patients with eating disorders.

But the Telegraph has learned a serious case review is under way against Ms Auty by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

This followed a child protection investigation, involving an alleged “unregistered in-patient facility”, held by the council earlier this year.

Ms Auty said the “health and well-being” of all individuals were “paramount” to her.

In a statement Liz Price, children’s planning and review manager of Children’s Services, Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “Anna Auty has been the subject of a child protection investigation.

“There have been concerns about her providing an unregistered in-patient facility for young people and adults.

“She is not qualified to, or able to, offer any medical services.

“A serious case review is under way.”

But Ms Auty said today: “We have not done anything unlawful. I have not been questioned.”

And in a statement to the Telegraph, she said: “I can confirm that the issues being attended to by the serious case review relate to the medical care of an individual.

“Medical care is not and has never been my remit. I am responsible for psychological care and therapy.

“We have cooperated fully with BANES (Bath and North East Somerset Council), as with all issues of child health all agencies must work together.

“I can also clearly state that no action whatsoever has been taken against me or the individual clinic for eating disorders.

“The health and well-being of all individuals are paramount to me.

“In relation to the matter of registration, we were reviewed for registration during this year by the Healthcare Commission and they found that as we are therapeutic and not medical we did not and could not even voluntarily register with them.

“Further to this, I can confirm that we have requested that if BANES require us to make any changes to our psychological services then could they please inform us. Their reply was ‘we do not have any ongoing regulatory monitoring responsibilities of your service’.”

Ms Auty added that she had had positive feedback from hundreds of “well and happy individuals and families”.

Meanwhile, Ulster woman Jacqui King, co-ordinator of the Eating Disorders Support Group in Northern Ireland who spoke to the Telegraph several weeks ago after being told Ms Auty was coming to Northern Ireland, said today: “I had no idea Anna Auty had been the subject of any investigation.”

And she added that the province did desperately need a better service all-round for patients.