New Year’s Honours List: Royal Free nurse receives MBE for helping anorexic young people

Royal Free lead nurse Samantha Swinglehurst has been awarded an MBE

Royal Free lead nurse Samantha Swinglehurst has been awarded an MBE - Credit: Archant

A nurse who helped set up a day clinic for anorexic young people at the Royal Free Hospital has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

As lead nurse in specialist practice at the Hampstead hospital’s child and adolescent mental health services, Samantha Swinglehurst has helped youngsters with life-threatening eating disorders receive treatment in the community.

The Pond Street hospital said she was “instrumental” in setting up its child and adolescent eating disorders intensive four years ago, which stops young people from having to stay in hospital for months.

Ms Swinglehurst said: “This is an extraordinary honour. “I see myself as a cog in a machine. I can only do what I do because of my colleagues who every day display outstanding commitment and professionalism.

“I’m so proud that nursing is at the forefront of this work.”

More than 200 young patients a year use the service, and they are offered an individually-tailored treatment plan delivered by therapists, specialist nurses, consultant psychiatrists and paediatricians.

It means patients can receive treatment while living at home and still attending school.

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According to the Royal Free, research has suggested that eating disorder patients are better treated in the community, with in-patients having a higher rate of relapse and re-admission.

Ms Swinglehurst has worked at the hospital for 11 years, and trained as a paediatric nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital in Bloomsbury.