"Blood Test Appointment- Paediatrics"

About: North Middlesex Hospital

On Thursday the 23rd of April my partner and I attended Children's Outpatients for a blood test for my 3 and half year old son in the afternoon. We took a ticket and joined the queue. When our turn came we went into the room. The first question we were asked is who is strongest? To hold our son whilst the blood test was conducted. My partner sat down with our son on her knee. Up until this point he had been happy and playing in the waiting room. At no point when we first went into the room or throughout the process was our son engaged with by the nurse about what was taking place. The nurse sprayed something on his arm from an aerosol but didn't tell us what it was. I assumed some kind of anaesthetic spray. They then put a tourniquet on his arm. However they then stated that they couldn't see a vein and may have to try the other arm. However they then decided to 'have a go' in the arm. They put in the needle but wasn't able to find a vein, at this point my son began to become distressed. We agreed with the nurse to try the other arm, but my son was still distressed but we decided it best to get the test done as we wanted to get it over with. They sprayed his other arm and was able to draw blood. With myself having to restrain my son whilst he was begging us to let him go. We did ask if there was an alternative option but were advised that he would have to go to a separate clinic to see a Paediatric nurse. I thought they were a paediatric nurse so was concerned to hear that there was a separate clinic for this even though we were in Childrens outpatients! At no point did the nurse talk to our son about what was happening or attempt to explain to him. We left the clinic with a very upset small child. We had to walk through the waiting room with our screaming and crying child and are concerned that this may have affected other children waiting and would be surprised if the nurse tried to allay the fears of the next family to have a blood test. I feel this process could have been handled much better by someone trained to work with small children and sympathetic to their fears. We have also been told that by other parents that local anaesthetic creams are used for blood tests for young children in other hospitals that can applied half an hour before the blood test, surely this could be considered as could have been applied whilst we were in the waiting room. On this occasion we felt very let down by North Middlesex Hospital. We have had previous appointments at this hospital with no issues but I feel on this occasion an element of care and understanding was missing leaving us feeling very let down by the hospital and worried if our son ever needs to come here again for other appointments.

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Response from North Middlesex Hospital

So sorry that you were unhappy with the service your son experienced. All our staff are fully trained on how to interact with children. I am the phlebotomist coordinator, nenita.clapham@nhs.net please email me so that we can discuss your issues.

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