"The way my son, partner & I were treated."

About: Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

We came to the hospital with my 11 month old son, we were redirected by northern doctors. We brought him in as he has recurring ear infections, he was non stop screaming pulling/prodding his little ears & had a temperature.. we were greeted by a nurse who took his records and told us to take a seat. We waited upto 40 minutes to be seem by a nurse who took his ons and then we were told to take a seat back in the waiting room, where the nurse practitioner would seek us. They said it wouldn't be too long as the nurse practitioner was just finishing up. It was 3:10am when we were finally called, I'm this time not once did anyone come and ask if my in pain screaming son wanted any calpol/nurofen. We were the only people in at this point and had been from about 1:30am.. my 11 month old son was in complete agony by thus time also completely shattered. So we went into the room where he was checked, from the time we entered the room to the time we left we felt completely talked down to.. NHS time wasters.. like we were imagining my sons string of ear infections. The way the nurse practitioner spoke to us was sarcastically like we were children ourselves. The nurse checked my sons ear and throat and 'agreed' the were red and angry. The nurse went onto say that my son had a virus and they would not be willing to treat him with antibiotics, then then opted different and said they were going to check their medical book.. The nurse came back and said because he has two red ears and a red throat that it said they had to treat with caution so they were going to prescribe him with antibiotics. The nurse went on to say they were going to check their medication draw to see what they had left because they were not going to leave the draw short. It took a further 10 minutes for another nurse to bring his medication. I was just completely appalled with the way we were treated throughout our wait there.. therefore I will be making a formal complaint also I will take my son to a different hospital next time a hospital that seems to appreciate my opinion and take an actual interest in my son.

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Response from Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

Dear Sir/Madam,

Firstly thank you for taking the time to share this with us – you have given important feedback that we need to pay attention to.

I am naturally disheartened to read about your recent experience in hospital with your little boy.

I can imagine how distressing it must have been for you to see your son in such pain. To not have been offered any pain relief is certainly worrying – please accept my apologies. I will forward your comments to our paediatric team to find out exactly why this happened ?

In order to avoid a lengthy wait at The Northumbria hospital for similar treatment for your son, I would recommend visiting one of our general hospitals who are usually able to provide more timely urgent care . The Northumbria is intended for life threatening emergencies only.

We have, in the last few months, seen an exceptional period of intense demand for emergency care for the Trust – the scale of this demand has been huge - in the first 3 months of 2016 we saw 9000 more patients compared to the same period last year.

This unprecedented pressure within the system have meant we have missed our emergency care waiting target ( 95% patients seen within 4 hrs) for the first time in many years. This is a source of great disappointment to us – we are used to consistently being amongst the very best in the NHS with regards to waiting and emergency care experience. We don’t want this to change.

It is clear to us that there is still work for us all to do as we continue to refine our new model of providing emergency care to make sure we maintain our usual standards. This will involve making sure that both the public and our partners in primary care understand how to make best use of this service. We will continue to listen to all feedback from staff and patients to help with these improvements.

It is upsetting to know that you felt talked down to, this isn’t the attitude we would expect from any member of our staff, regardless of how busy we are.

I’m sure you will understand why it is important that we look into all your concerns immediately. Please could you email me confidentially with your son’s details (name, d.o.b and address) and provide the date of your visit I will be able to speak to the staff involved in your care. My email address is


I do hope you feel able to get in touch with me, or submit a formal complaint as intended, so that we can investigate and discover what went wrong.

I hope your son is feeling much better now.

Kindest regards,


Annie Laverty - Director of Patient Experience