"hit and miss"

About: Wansbeck Hospital

I have had a few experiences with Wansbeck, both good and bad. However my most recent one was Friday 12th December about 7pm. I took my youngest son (11 months) to A&E due to being really unwell and struggling to breath, he was using his abdominals to breath. We were taken straight through to the paediatric department of A&E which was very busy, however we were seen straight away due to the nature of the little ones condition. The department was packed, parents were claiming they had been waiting three hours to be seen and some were getting very irate. As I thought, his stats were low and needed oxygen and nebulizers and a chest x-ray so we were admitted to the hospital but as there is no children's admissions we were told we would be transferred to North Tyneside Hospital via ambulance. whilst in Wansbeck we were placed in one of the bays where I sat and watched the ongoing crisis. The staffing levels were far too low for the demands of a busy children's department. There was two nurse practitioners on duty and one nurse. this poor nurse was run raggered. She was the doorman, the receptionist answering phones, discharging patients, booking x-rays, writing up outpatient notes, triaging, seeing patients and trying to provide emergency care for my little boy and a little girl in the bay next to us. I felt truly sorry for this nurse. On two occasions my son's nebulisers which he was supposed to have hourly were more than half an hour late. We were sent for an x-ray about 9pm and when we came back at 9.15pm, the nurse on duty requested an ambulance "within the hour"...it reached half past 10 and still no ambulance, the ambulance service rang up to apologize and said there would be one ASAP but they were very busy. Children were being brought into Wansback via ambulances which were requested by 111 despite the parents saying they didn't need ambulances yet here was my little boy who needed one and was being made to wait. 11pm and there was still no ambulance so the nurse upped the ambulance to a "30 minute response blue lighter"....by the time she signed off duty at midnight there was still no ambulance...a member of staff from the A&E department rang the ambulance service again and had a bit of a go at them and then requested a "blue light 8minute response" so......at just after 1am an ambulance turned up for us. 4 hours for an ambulance for a baby boy. Its a joke. whilst I understand the service is very busy at this time of year, I cant help but feel that resources are being wasted through the 111 service and that the children's department in Wansbeck is very short staffed so the quality of care the children are receiving is not good enough or up to standards of what it should be.

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Response from Wansbeck Hospital

Dear Sammi, Thanks a lot for taking the time to share this important feedback with us. I am genuinely sorry we were unable to provide you with the care you wanted for your son last week. I can appreciate how distressing it must have been to wait for an ambulance in these circumstances. Thank you for acknowledging the unprecedented demands that all A&E departments are currently experiencing and how hard our staff are working to respond to this. I have shared your review with senior members of the emergency care team – I know they will want to review your son’s care to establish some details and understand what happened last Friday. We are in frequent discussions with the North East Ambulance service and will want to share any key lessons with colleagues there too. I do hope your wee boy is a lot better now. With best wishes, Annie

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