Anorexia victim, 23, hits out at hospital bosses after specialist unit which saved her life is closed
A young woman who suffered from anorexia and starved herself until she weighed little more than three stone has urged hospital bosses to reopen the eating disorders hospital which saved her life.
Charlotte Ord, 23, spent her teenage years gripped by an obsession with food in a deadly disorder which almost cost the petite Northumbria University student her life.
What began as a diet to cut out sweets and treats descended into an eating disorder which saw her survive for days on end with absolutely no food, only drinking small amounts of water.
At 14 years old she weighed just 3st 5lb – less than the average weight for a six-year-old – prompting her to be hospitalised and placed on a drip at the Nuffield Hospital in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Yet it was only when she was admitted to the eating disorder unit at Prudhoe Hospital in Northumberland that she began the slow journey to turn her life around.
So now, five years after she left the unit, she has hit out at the NHS North of Tyne for moving the child eating disorder unit 49 miles away to a new specialist centre at West Lane Hospital in Middlesbrough. The changes have angered Charlotte, who grew up with her grandparents near Ashington, and now weighs a healthier eight stone.
She said: ‘It’s really important they save the Prudhoe unit. ‘I’m so thankful to the staff there because they basically saved my life. If I had been in Middlesbrough I don’t know if my family would have been able to make that long journey, and it would have just added to the stress everyone was feeling.’
It took six years for Charlotte to overcome her obsession with food, which began when she was 12 and she weighed around six stone. She said: ‘I wasn’t happy with myself – not necessarily the way I looked or my weight, just everything. I was being bullied at school and was generally unhappy.
‘At first I cut out sweets and chocolate but that quickly progressed to missing lunch at school. ‘For quite a while I’d just had a few bits of fruit a day, but I ended up having no more than three sips of water a day.
‘It was mainly a control thing – I couldn’t control the rest of my life but I could control what I put into my body. I was 15 and a half years old when I was admitted to Prudhoe, basically because I was going to die.’
Charlotte spent around 18 months in the unit as an in-patient before she was discharged shortly after her 18th birthday and now she’s looking forward to life with her new husband, after getting married four weeks ago to husband Peter, 25.
Investing in their children’s future: UK parents ‘biggest spenders on private schooling in Europe’
Parents in Britain spend far more educating their children privately than those in any other European country, a study has revealed. In a damning indictment of our state system, 11.3 per cent of school funding in the UK comes directly from the pockets of parents – almost double the level in France.
The figures indicate that families are increasingly unhappy with the quality of our state schools – pushing them to opt out and pay expensive private fees.
By contrast, just 6.2 per cent of school funding in France comes from parents, compared with 4.8 per cent in the Netherlands, 3.2 per cent in Italy, and just 0.1 per cent in Portugal. Even in the U.S., household spending accounts for just 8.6 per cent of funding.
The results reflect not just the numbers of British children going to private schools, but the higher fees they are charged compared with Continental ones.
The report, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, also showed that money for education from private sources – including business funding for academy schools – soared under Labour, rising from 11.3 per cent to 21.9 per cent between 2000 and 2007.
Around 510,000 children in the UK are privately educated, with average fees at almost £4,200 a term. Top schools charge around £30,000 a year, however.
Fears over discipline and a dumbing down of the curriculum are thought to be driving the disenchantment with the state system.
Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, West Yorkshire, said: ‘Parents who send their children to private schools are not all rich and snobbish. They are people who make enormous sacrifices because they do not think state schools are up to scratch.
‘Private schools are popular because of the ethos they have which state schools are seen to lack. It’s to do with discipline, standing up when the teacher comes in the room, turning out nice people who treat people with respect. ‘And there’s the fact that exams have been dumbed down so much.’
Margaret Morrissey, of campaign group Parents Outloud, said: ‘There is a problem in cities, where parents have little confidence in inner city schools and so have to give up on something else and pay for their children to go private. ‘Part of this is the perception that the increasing number of children whose first language is not English would hold their child back.’
The OECD report also found that students in Britain pay more towards their university education than in any other European country – even before the huge rise in tuition fees unveiled earlier this year.
And parents here also have to contribute far more to their children’s nursery education.
In total, across all forms of education from age three to when students graduate from university, British households pay 21 per cent of education costs – with the Government contributing less than anywhere on the Continent.
The comparable figure in France is just 7 per cent, according to the report. The OECD figures are from 2007, the latest ones available for all countries.
The pro-immigration Left should stop using Anders Breivik to further its political agenda
According to Thorbjørn Jagland, a senior member of the Norwegian Labour Party and chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee, centre-Right politicians like David Cameron and Angela Merkel should stop criticising multiculturalism in case their words inspire another Anders Breivik. In an interview in today’s Observer, the former Norwegian Prime Minister says:
We have to be very careful how we are discussing these issues, what words are used. Political leaders have got to defend the fact that society has become more diverse. We have to defend the reality, otherwise we are going to get into a mess. I think political leaders have to send a clear message to embrace it and benefit from it. We should be very cautious now, we should not play with fire. Therefore I think the words we are using are very important because it can lead to much more.
This is cynical political opportunism of the worst kind. Has Thorbjørn Jagland ever spoken out against Islamist hate preachers on the grounds that their words may inspire terrorist acts? Of course not. Nevertheless, he doesn’t hesitate before exploiting the deaths of 77 innocent Norwegians to promote his own multiculturalist agenda. (Note: from 2000 to 20006, he chaired the Socialist International Committee on the Middle East and was an outspoken critic of Islamophobia.)
Anders Breivik’s crimes are completely appalling, but we shouldn’t allow the Left to exploit the public outrage they’ve quite naturally given rise to in order to suppress free speech. The fact that Breivik claims to have been “inspired” by the opinions of Melanie Phillips and other journalists and authors who’ve questioned multiculturalism doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t in future be allowed to express those views. You might as well argue that since Mark Chapman was “inspired” to shoot John Lennon by Catcher in the Rye that J D Salinger’s book should be withdrawn from public libraries.
David Cameron and Angela Merkel should be applauded for having the courage to confront the centre left consensus about multiculturalism. Whatever your feelings about the manner in which immigration has transformed the countries of Western Europe, you should welcome the opportunity to engage in a public debate on the subject. For Thorbjørn Jagland to invoke the crimes of Anders Breivik in order to avoid doing so is a disgrace and suggests that he’s not confident this is an argument he and his fellow multiculturalists can win.
Hatred, smears and the liberals hell-bent on bullying millions of us into silence
By Melanie Phillips
The baleful effects of the recent attacks in Norway, where Anders Breivik bombed Oslo’s government district and then gunned down teenagers at a Labour party camp, murdering at least 77 people, have not been limited to that horrific carnage.
For the atrocity has produced a reaction among people on the political Left in Britain, Europe and the U.S. that is in itself shocking and terrifying.
Former Norwegian prime minister and current chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee Thorbjorn Jagland has said that, in response to the violent attacks, David Cameron and other European leaders should use a more ‘cautious’ approach when talking about multiculturalism.
Cameron has said multiculturalism (the doctrine that gives the values of minorities equal status to those of the majority) has failed, and has also talked about ‘Islamist extremism’ as a cause of terrorism. Jagland, however, said leaders would be ‘playing with fire’ if they continued to use rhetoric that could be exploited by extremists such as Breivik.
This is because Breivik’s so-called manifesto shows that he is violently against mass immigration, multiculturalism and Islamisation — and that he wants the forced repatriation of Muslims from Europe and the murder of all who have promoted multiculturalism.
But to connect such abhorrent ravings with Cameron’s comments is simply grotesque.
Yet the former Norwegian premier is treating Breivik as if he is a political terrorist whose words have the authority of a sane and coherent creed.
Even if he was motivated by hostility to multiculturalism and Islam, it is perverse to suggest that no one should write about these things because some deranged person raving about such ideas has run amok.
It’s a bit like saying no one should express concern about late abortions or animal cruelty because it leads straight to the firebombing of abortion clinics or animal-testing laboratories.
Breivik’s so-called manifesto shows that he is violently against mass immigration, multiculturalism and Islamisation – and that he wants the forced repatriation of Muslims from Europe and the murder of all who have promoted multiculturalism
Breivik’s wants the forced repatriation of Muslims from Europe and the murder of all who have promoted multiculturalism
Multiculturalism and Islamic extremism raise entirely legitimate and very serious concerns about defending a culture from attack both from within and from without.
Jagland seems to be cynically exploiting the murder of more than 70 innocents to make a connection which is as obnoxious as it is opportunistic in order to bully into silence those who express such legitimate democratic concerns.
Shockingly, he is merely one of many who are doing so. As soon as the atrocity happened, people on the Left saw a heaven-sent opportunity to smear mainstream conservative thinkers and writers by making a grossly distorted association between Breivik’s attack and their ideas.
They claimed that anyone on ‘the Right’ who had spoken out against multiculturalism or Islamic extremism was complicit in the atrocity and therefore had a moral duty to stop writing about such things. To my stupefaction, I have become a principal target of this incendiary witch-hunt, being smeared for having helped provoke the Norway massacre.
One of the first out of the trap was British blogger Sunny Hundal, who delt at length upon two of my articles which had been quoted in Breivik’s purported manifesto and gave the impression that I was a major influence on Breivik’s thinking.
But in Breivik’s 1,500-page diatribe, I was mentioned precisely twice. The first time was a quote from an article in this newspaper about family breakdown. The second was another article about the revelation by a former civil servant that the previous Labour government had kept the public in the dark about a covert policy of mass immigration. Breivik made no mention of anything I had written about Muslims, Islamic terrorism or Islamisation.
Moreover, he also mentioned dozens of other conservative or liberal writers and thinkers. Among others, he quoted: Winston Churchill, George Orwell, Mahatma Gandhi, the Labour MP Frank Field, Tory Nicholas Soames, philosopher Roger Scruton, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and Swedish thriller writer Lars Hedegaard. Oh, and William Shakespeare, as well as the fathers of English liberalism John Stuart Mill and John Locke.
So the fact that Hundal singled me out like this while failing to mention these others (apart from a brief reference to Mr Clarkson) was an egregious smear — which was soon circulating and building up hatred on Twitter and the internet.
Soon, others joined in the hate-fest — even across the Atlantic. In the Toronto Star, columnist Heather Mallick wrote that unlike ‘almost everyone else praised by the killer’, I had not said I was horrified by the atrocity in Norway. Not only that, but whereas everyone else had wept at the murder of schoolchildren, ‘she [Phillips] spits’. But, on the contrary, I had written on my own website in terms far stronger than many other writers that there could never be any excuse for mass murder.
And the quote from my writing on which she based her ‘spitting’ claim was actually not about the atrocity at all, but about the people using those murders to foment just this kind of hatred.
Then there was Seumas Milne in the Guardian — who tried to make the smear stick by insisting that my criticism of the secret policy of using mass immigration to destroy British identity was ‘Breivik’s feeling precisely’.
But the truth is that the outrage at that policy is shared by millions of decent British people. So Milne was in effect smearing not just me, but all those millions by implying that their opinions also formed a ‘continuum’ with Breivik’s actions.
As one Guardian reader commented following Milne’s contemptible attack, the fact that he had deliberately blurred the distinction between reasonable political opinions with which one might disagree and the actions of a terrorist meant he was creating hysteria and polarisation. Indeed, the result of such incitement has been a veritable tsunami of electronically-generated mob hatred.
No, it is those who under the cover of accusing me of incendiary writing are themselves inciting hatred.
The claim that ‘blood is on my hands’ can so easily translate into someone seeking my own blood. Heaven forbid that should happen — but if it did, there would be a direct causal link with those who have whipped up this wicked firestorm.
Indeed, those who have exploited the killing of innocents in Norway to provoke such an eruption of distortion, demonisation and irrationality should disgust and alarm all decent people everywhere.