"If this is how urgent cases are treated it's..."

About: Sheffield Children's Hospital

My four year old cut her mouth open on Thursday. She needed stitches to close the wound but these could not be done at our local hospital, so the doctor we saw in A and E phoned Sheffield, who are designated as urgent care cover. After arguing with various people the doctor had to admit defeat-Sheffield refused to see my child for emergency treatment. We had to go back the next day to our own hospital, but when it became clear she would need the procedure done under general anaesthetic we were again referred to Sheffield. The doctor gave us letters and notes to take with us and phoned ahead to advise of our arrival, so we travelled down. We waited for around an hour in A and E to be told by a rather flippant young doctor that we shouldn't have been told the procedure would have been done that day, because we had to go through 'their' system first. He said he misunderstood what the doctor at our hospital had asked him to do!

So we were sent home-a day wasted. We went back for a third day on Saturday, at 7:30am as advised, and were admitted to the ward in readiness for surgery. Twice (at around 10am and 2pm) I was told that the theatre was so busy it was unlikely that her stitches would be done that day, but when I asked to go home rather than wait (and continue to deprive my four year old of all food and liquids in readiness for an operation that was unlikely to happen) I was reassured by a different staff member that the procedure would take place that day. We waited as requested, keen that my daughter get the treatment she needed, but voiced our concerns throughout the course of the day about her lack of food and fluids, and the system in which we had been caught up. We were eventually told at 9:40pm that theatre would not be performing the procedure.

So to summarise, I starved a four year old for 15 hours (and around 3 the day before) for an operation that didn't take place. I made four separate visits to hospital for an operation that never took place. My husband and I took a day each off work and wasted a day of our weekend-for an operation that didn't take place. It cost me around £20 for all of the parking we had to do...you get the picture.

I am beyond disgusted that my time, and that of my family, is not valued by the healthcare system. Scared that my baby will be disfigured with a wound that has started to heal itself in the time it has taken not to be treated by the so called 'universal' health service-one that supposedly provides the right care, at the right time. Incandescent that the tax I have paid for over 20 years is funding such an inefficient service. But most of all, that my daughter needed treatment urgent enough for three different doctors to confirm the same course of action-but not urgent enough for anyone to actually do it. On Monday, I shall be contacting the hospital, CQC, MP and national press.

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Response from Sheffield Children's Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience at Sheffield Children's.

We are sorry to hear about your situation involving the Emergency Department and Theatres. The relevant departments have been made aware of your comments and we would like to speak with you about your concerns to make sure this does not happen again.

Please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0114 271 7594 or email Linda.towers@sch.nhs.uk

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