"Children's A&E"

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

I wish doctors would stop judging and patronising parents who take their children to A&E with a high fever when they are concerned that it might be something serious like meningitis. We are no medical experts but I believe we deserve to receive respectful responses and I do not appreciate being spoken down to. In every leaflet and even on the NHS website it says that a high fever of over 39 degrees Celsius and panting for breath should be taken seriously. Hence our concern and the decision to take our 1 year-old daughter to A&E on 19.08.2015. Our daughter was treated with the standard medication (Paracetamol & Ibuprofene) which I agree, is something we could have done ourselves at home. But this is not the point. If your child is breathing and behaving abnormally and has a high fever you want a diagnosis and make sure that it is not a serious or even life-threatening condition. (We never received a diagnosis by the way.)

Comments such as: “Oh, it’s probably because you are first-time parents that you are a bit anxious.” or “your GP should have resolved this” are unnecessary and completely out of order from my point of view. My husband and I are working hard and are both paying taxes. We should have the right to use emergency services without being made to feel guilty for doing so. If we had more funding and a proper system in place where parents with sick children could access 24/7 paediatrician care directly rather than having to go private or to a hospital then maybe A&E would not be so overcrowded.

When our daughter was two days old she had jaundice. And despite Health Visitors telling us that this would be normal etc. we took her to A&E and it turned out that her Bilirubin levels were very high so she had to go to the Children’s ward to receive treatment. It is sometimes necessary to take a child to A&E even when it is not 100% clear straight away whether it really is an emergency or not.

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

We are very sorry that your visit to the Paediatric Emergency Department did not meet your expectations. The matron for the area will ask the consultant in charge to remind his medical staff that we should listen carefully to the parents and carers when they bring children to the Emergency Department. The Matron for Paediatrics would be more than happy to discuss this personally with you if you would like to discuss your concerns in detail - if you contact our Patient Relations Department on 0118 322 8338 or email talktous@royalberkshire.nhs.uk, they can facilitate a meeting for you.

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