"Childs A and E is not an appropriate place for..."

About: Queen's Hospital (Romford)

My husband and I took my 4 day old daughter to A and E at Queens hospital after she vomited blood.

This is our third child so we do not consider ourselves unduly alarmist or overly cautious parents but this frightened us.

Having been immediately directed to the Children's Department of A and E our experience was frankly awful.

The place was extremely busy which we understand is not the fault of staff but in the several hours we were waiting there not once did we see a cleaner and the place looked and felt dirty.

The Triage nurse tried to get our little girl seen more quickly by referring us to an in-hospital GP but the doctor was unable to tell us any more than what we'd managed to google ourselves about possible causes of a newborn vomiting blood.

The doctor contacted other staff on a children's ward for a second opinion by telephone and they said they would come to A and E to see our daughter.

However, after waiting back in the general (busy and dirty) waiting room again for over an hour, we decided the potential risk of our daughter contracting something more serious in this environment was greater than the issue we had presented with, given that our daughter now seemed improved.

We made the decision to discharge ourselves and thankfully this was the right one.

I did not feel confident that the care of my 4 day old baby was in safe hands and nor did I feel that bringing her to such a place was safe or appropriate.

I understand that services are very stretched but my suggestion would be that for such young babies, whilst still under the charge of a community midwife as we were, a midwife should be contactable in the community at all times and not just up until 4pm.

Failing this, I would have preferred to have been able to bring my baby to a ward that deals specifically with babies.

I had given birth to my baby at home and it felt unnatural to me to be potentially exposing her to such an environment so early on in her life.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Queen's Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to make us aware of your experience, I was very sorry to read your experience. If you would like to discuss your concerns further, you can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service, who will be happy to assist you in any way they can. They can be contacted on 01708 435 454, or by email PALS@bhrhospitals.nhs.uk.

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Halford

Chief Nurse

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