Toddler with suspected meningitis ‘lay on makeshift bed during A&E wait’

A toddler with suspected meningitis lay for several hours on a makeshift bed made of two chairs while waiting to be seen by a doctor in A&E, his mother claims.

A toddler with suspected meningitis lay for several hours on a makeshift bed made of two chairs while waiting to be seen by a doctor in A&E, his mother claims.

Picture: iStock

Rose Newman, from East Sussex, told The Daily Mirror her one-year-old son Jack had to wait for five hours at Conquest Hospital in Hastings because resources there were so scarce. A picture of her son was shown on the front page of the newspaper.

The incident was raised at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday by leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn recounted how a woman called Sian who works in the NHS saw the boy on two plastic chairs pushed together and covered by a blanket.

He said: ‘Does the prime minister and the health secretary think this is an acceptable way of treating a 22-month-old?’

Theresa May replied: ‘I accept there have been a small number of incidents where unacceptable practices have taken place.

‘We don’t want those things to happen, but what matters is that the NHS looks into issues where there are unacceptable incidents that have taken place and then learns lessons from them.’

Few resources

Ms Newman told the Mirror: ‘Theresa May said she accepted there had been a few instances where things like this happen. That is laughable.’

Of the hospital, she added: ‘They were brilliant when we were there and the staff wanted to help – they really did, you could tell – but they just couldn’t. They don't have the resources.’

East Sussex Healthcare, the trust responsible for the hospital, said Jack had been recorded as attending A&E at 8.40pm, and assessed by a clinical practitioner as soon as he arrived.

It had been decided that he did not require a bed, and he and his mother had been put in an assessment cubicle, which is a seated area of the emergency department.

During this time Jack had been monitored by the nursing team and given paracetamol for his temperature. His mother had laid him down.

A spokesperson said: ‘Jack did wait over three hours to see a doctor due to the volume of other patients being seen. Following a medical assessment, Jack and his mother returned home.

‘The cubicle they were put into does not have a bed as it is for assessment and not treatment of patients.

‘Had it been clinically necessary for Jack to be admitted to a bed in the hospital, this would have been done.’


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