A woman who nearly died from anorexia as a teen says she was horrified to be turned away from a Tooting hospital after a relapse two years ago.

Hope Virgo, 28, has launched a petition after allegedly being made to feel by medics at Springfield University Hospital, in Glenburnie Road, that she “wasn’t skinny enough”.

This was after she sought treatment following a relapse in 2016.

Her petition, which is lobbying the Government to review the guidance issued to medics treating patients with eating disorders, has gathered almost 50,000 signatures in under two weeks.

Currently, Government quango NICE advises that a person's BMI should not be a factor when considering what treatment they receive.

But Hope believes it is a "postcode lottery" depending on the NHS trust.

The campaigner says attitudes need to change to recognise that anorexia is a mental illness, as well as a physical condition, and that early intervention can stop it from escalating.

She said: "I had the realisation that I could get so skinny that they would help me, or I could get healthy with my own support network, and that's what I did.

"I had a month where I felt like I didn't know what to do, or how to keep going.

"I realised that this is the kind of thing that happens on a daily basis and I want to highlight it as an issue in the NHS."

Hope says she attended the Springfield University Hospital after visiting her GP, who suggested referring herself, and also wrote a referral.

But when Hope did go to the clinic, she was allegedly told by a doctor she didn't "meet the criteria for being underweight" - contrary to NICE guidelines.

Hope said: "She was very apologetic and nice about it but said I didn't meet the criteria for being underweight so there wasn't anything they could do."

Hope, who is currently a healthy weight but believes she will live with anorexia for the rest of her life, says that people with eating disorders are mostly being treated once they have reached a state of crisis, rather than before.

She added: "I think in some areas of the country it is being treated as a mental health condition, but the general public view is as very physical thing - they imagine people being stick thin.

"There are some good places where they are looking at early intervention and for the tiny percentage who receive that it's amazing, but the rest are in limbo."

Currently, guidelines from NICE tell doctors: "Do not use single measures such as BMI or duration of illness to determine whether to offer treatment for an eating disorder."

But Hope says that despite the advice this continues to happen, with patients only receiving treatment once the illness has fully taken hold.

She says there is "no consistency" on how different trusts decide how to treat patients.

The South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust has been approached for a comment.

To see the petition, click here.