"There are too many other faults to list "

About: North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance The Royal Victoria Infirmary / Accident & emergency The Royal Victoria Infirmary / Paediatrics Wansbeck Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a parent/guardian),

Unfortunately our 3 year old developed severe breathing difficulties and had to be taken via ambulance to Wansbeck General Hospital. The paramedic who arrived first and the subsequent ambulance crew were absolutely fantastic and utterly professional.

The problems began when arriving at the Wansbeck A&E department. We were first shown to a childrens waiting area that was absolutely filthy with food all over the floor, dust everywhere and an obvious lack of cleaning. Once again the initial nurse we saw here was fantastic but unfortunately just finishing her shift and as a result we had to move to the main A&E treatment room. This area was completely unsanitary with bloodied tissues strewn across the floor used surgical gloves lying all over the place and not fit or safe for adults and definitely not the place for a 3 year old girl.

The filthy bay 12 we were placed in stunk of sewage and we were told that this is because it was the last drain in the hospital and the water probably hasn't been run for a while. This was certainly true as, despite sitting for more than 5 hours watching doctors and nurses examine one patient then the next, we never once saw anybody wash their hands. Our daughter was examined on a few occasions and never once did anyone wash their hands before or after the examination. A doctor even handed me a pen to sign a form whilst holding bloodied surgical gloves scrunched up in her hand and subsequently went off leaving someones recently taken blood samples sitting on the bed beside our daughter.

These staff I feel are not to blame as the whole department seemed completely understaffed, particularly doctors, and inadequately equipped to deal with patients needs. After being told that there is no children's ward at this hospital we were told we would be transferred to North Tyneside Hospital but it could be hours as the doctor told us they didn't know why as they didn't drive ambulances.

Sitting for the next couple of hours in that department with a child was horrific. My 3 year old had to endure a man vomiting less than 1 metre from were she was sitting, a drunk trying to grab her as she got a drink of water and somebody in chains from Northumberland Prison bleeding from his mouth leering at her through the open door that was broken so it wouldnt shut. Even more worrying was that my daughters breathing was again deteriorating and the Dr said she would get a nebuliser if we just gave her a couple of minutes. 45 minutes later we only got some attention because of complaining to the nurses. Our daughter by this stage was very very anxious and stressed and we felt the whole experience was detrimental to her physical and mental health and we needed to discharge her and get to a properly equipped and staffed hospital. Again is this the staffs fault? Certainly not. The doctors physically couldn't do anything more. They are only human and need more staff.

We were left with no other option than to discharge our daughter and drive her straight to the RVI in Newcastle which took no more than 15 minutes. Upon arrival at the spotlessly clean RVI, we were told our daughters oxygen levels were dangerously low and the care and treatment we received there was simply superb. She was later admitted to a Childrens ward and the care she received was faultless. The difference between the two hospitals is astounding and I truly believe it would be the difference between life and death. Why are children sent to such an under equipped hospital such as the Wansbeck when they have no provision of care for children? There are too many other faults to list with our trip to Wansbeck General Hospital but I hope this review helps other parents when deciding where to take there sick child. Appalling.

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Response from Annie Laverty, Director of Patient Experience, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

picture of Annie Laverty

Dear Mrs Sweeney,

Many thanks for getting in contact with me yesterday and sharing your details. it allows me to follow this matter up immediately and share with my Chief Executive.

You will understand why the concerns you raise here and in other posts on the website, are been treated with the utmost seriousness given the severity of the content. I do hope you got my message on Friday and that you'll be in a position to meet up with me soon.

Many thanks,


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Response from The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to comment on your experience at The Childrens Great North Hospital. We are sorry to hear that your daughter had a difficult time in other hospitals, however we are pleased to hear that she quickly received the treatment she needed on arrival at Great North Childrens Hospital and we will pass on your feedback to the team who will be encouraged by your kind words.

Further to your comments we would like to remind parents that they can always chose to come to Great North Childrens Hospital even if it is not the closest hospital. Our Specialist Childrens Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, every day.

We wish your daughter well for the future.