A trust which runs an urgent care centre in Skegness is investigating after a mother was forced to make her own way to Grimsby and Pilgrim hospitals for emergency care for her “purple” baby.
Shannon Elliott, a campaigner with the SOS Pilgrim group, first took six-month old daughter Olivia, who had earlier been diagnosed with bronchiolitis, to Skegness Urgent Care Centre (UCC) after becoming concerned about her breathing difficulties.
She said: “Skegness UCC said nothing was wrong and that it was the colour of her pram making her look ‘purple’. Her oxygen levels were low on the machine, which I was told wasn’t working properly.”
She said she was forced to argue with doctors for help, before taking a family car to Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.
“I was still really worried and knew Olivia wasn’t right… on the way I had to use her inhaler (given to us the night before),” she said.
Once at Grimsby, A&E receptionists called through resuscitation nurses and Olivia was given oxygen before spending six days at the hospital.
“From a child that ‘had nothing wrong with her’ to a child that was now too critical to transfer from the A&E cubicle to the children’s ward I was not only angry, I was upset,” said Shannon.
She believes the incident could have been avoided if they had access to Pilgrim Hospital, but were told it was full.
A week later, she then took Olivia back to Skegness UCC with the same problem and this time waited seven hours for an ambulance, which she said never came.
This time she ended up taking a friend’s car to Pilgrim.
“We spent the night on the Pilgrim children’s ward, where staff were fantastic, and she was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and croup again,” she said.
According to SOS Pilgrim campaign leader Alison Marriott, Shannon’s story isn’t the only one they have heard since changes to children’s services at the Boston hospital were implemented.
“Other families have also told us how they have had to wait on the ward at Pilgrim to be transferred as the ambulances were already out… [and] have chosen to take their children in their own cars to Lincoln so they can get home when they leave, so the figures could be even higher,” she said.
Natalie Mckee, head of urgent care at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, which runs Skegness Urgent Care Centre, said: “We are very sorry to hear that on this occasion the service provided does not seem to have met our usual high standards.
“Where patients or family members have questions or concerns about any aspect of the care or service they have received, we would strongly urge them to contact us directly to discuss this in more detail and support any appropriate investigation,” she added.
“This can be done directly to the service or via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0300 123 9553.”
Divisional Managing Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at ULHT which runs Pilgrim Hospital, Ciara Moore, said: “Unfortunately we are unable to comment on individual cases.
“We do offer some patients access based on clinical need, this means when patients have open access, parents are able to call the ward at Pilgrim hospital for advice and in some cases patients may be asked to come in.
“If there is no capacity for us to admit children the advice we would give is that parents should take their child to the nearest urgent treatment centre or emergency department if they are at all concerned.”
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