December 13, 2022 5.00 pm This story is over 11 months old

Scarlet fever scare: Lincoln mum’s late-night struggle to find antibiotics for baby girl

She was “scared, angry and disappointed”

A frightened mum faced an anxious and frantic search for antibiotics in Lincoln after her baby daughter was diagnosed with Scarlet fever.

Beth Foreman attended Lincoln County Hospital with 11-month-old daughter Cleo on Friday who was “lethargic and her cheeks were bright red” and “you could have literally fried eggs on her cheek”.

She left with a penicillin prescription at around 11.45pm, saying she was told it was “imperative” her baby took it that night. However, she said all nearby pharmacies told her they did not have any in stock and family and friends all encountered the same problem while attempting to help.

She was advised by the overnight pharmacies to return to the hospital for further advice, who eventually managed to find penicillin from an impatient ward and claimed it was the ‘last bottle in the building,’ according to the BBC.

Beth told BBC Look North she was left feeling “scared, angry and disappointed”.

She said: “It was bad enough when they said we don’t have any here, you need to go and find some.

“You look at the time and you see the temperature outside, and your baby’s screaming, and when you finally find a pharmacy, and the first place that’s open, but then to be told we don’t have any and you probably won’t get any at all, having been told how important it is that the baby has the medication that night, it’s just frightening.”

She added: “It’s just terrifying. These childrens’ lives are potentially being put at risk by what appears to be this shortage of what should be a fairly basic antibiotic.”

Baby Cleo with her mum and dad Beth and Dean. | Screenshot: BBC Look North

The Department of Health and Social Care said there was “no supplier shortage of antibiotics available to treat strep A”.

A spokesperson said: “We sometimes have surges for products and increased demand means some pharmacies are having difficulties obtaining certain antibiotics.

“We rely on competition to drive down the prices of generic medicines which generally results in lower prices for the NHS – this means prices can fluctuate, but no company should use this as an opportunity to exploit the NHS.

“Where companies are found to be abusing their dominant position by charging excessive and unfair prices, the Competition and Markets Authority can take action against businesses and individuals engaged in anti-competitive conduct.”

ALSO READ: Toddler diagnosed with Strep A: Lincoln mum shares experience

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