"Me and my son were made to wait unnecessarily"

About: Urgent Care Centre

(as a parent/guardian),

My 22 month year old soon burned his right hand, while at home in December and was taken to our local accident centre at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, where he was treated and taken care of, the next morning he attended for a dressing change, a process which took less than 20 minutes. He was then required to return in 2 days for another dressing change. Due to us being away from the area when he had to return, the staff at the centre gave me a letter to take with me to the nearest unit, which would provide information on his treatment to date and that he required a dressing change for the burn on his hand.

On the Tuesday night, I phoned your Urgent Care Centre based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary Hospital, to see if they would see him and be able to change his dressing, as we do choose well when deciding which unit we need to visit, and as this visit was just for a dressing change, we felt he did not warrant being seen at your Paediatric Accident and Emergency Unit but rather only required to be seen at the Urgent Care Centre. The staff I spoke to confirmed it would be okay for my son to be seen at the Urgent Care Centre. On the Wednesday at approximately 1300 hours, I made my way with my son to your Urgent Care Centre. Unfortunately there were no available car park spaces within the grounds of the hospital, so after seeing a sign I proceeded to the NCP Car Park, which is approximately a 10 minute walk from the hospital. When I arrived at the U. C. C, I booked my son in with reception, told them I had a referral letter and explained that we were there to have his dressing changed. She then directed me down the corridor to a waiting area.

It took 60 minutes, before anyone came to see my son, we were then seen by a triage nurse who took his temperature and a few other observations, I proceeded to hand her the letter and his notes from our local hospital which she read, typed a lot into the computer within the cubicle and then told us to wait again within the waiting area. This wait was longer than first, we were waiting over 90 minutes to be seen. This is something I had not planned for, as I had not brought bottles or nappies, as given our experience within our local unit, we were in and out as all that was required was to remove the dressing and replace it. By this time we had been in the department over 2 and a half hours. This sort of time was not forecasted as we were supposed to be travelling home at 3pm that afternoon yet it was already now near to 4pm. We then proceeded to consultation room 8 to see a doctor.

I handed the doctor the paperwork, and explained what had happened, when it had happened, and the fact we were there for a dressing change. He then examined my son’s hand, which was healing nicely. As a small child he had taken his dressing off during the previous night, and the burn itself was healing very well. The doctor then read the letter, but did not seem to neither understand or be interested in the letter or notes of my son from our local hospital. The doctor then said he needed to ring a senior doctor for advice. When he re-appeared he then told me he would be admitting my son into Ward 11, where he would need to be seen by the Plastic Surgeon and Burns Consultant. Which completely shocked me, I reiterated the fact that we I had only brought my son in for a dressing change, but he insisted this was procedure and he had to follow the procedures.

We were then escorted to another Nurses room half way down the corridor towards the reception area. The doctor discussed his case with the nurse, then there seemed to be a little bit of panic, as the doctor said his hand must be put in cling film, and no one could find any. Everyone from the cleaners, health care support workers, and fellow nurses were all looking for cling film, before the initial nurse found some within a draw. She then proceeded to covering his whole hand in cling film, and ushered us again to the waiting area close to reception.

By this time, it had gone 4pm, and I was getting very concerned as my son had not had a bottle or food, and we were already have supposed to left for the nearly 200 mile journey home. When I enquired with the nurse if there was a shop within the UCC or close by where I could get my son, some food/drink she said he would not be allowed anything as he was being admitted to a ward.

A logistics porter then proceeded to escort us up to Ward 11, although he did not seem to know where this was. When we arrived we were again told to wait within a children’s waiting area. By this time, the burn had started to annoy my son, who was getting very agitated because he was thirsty and hungry. After an hour wait with nothing seeming to happen, and no one coming to explain anything to, I then enquired with the Deputy Sister on duty as to what was happening, and how long things would take, she said they were waiting for the consultants to come down and see my son, but they were unsure on the timescale which this would take.

I then asked the same senior nurse, if she could explain to me, why we were here, why it has taken so long and showed her the letter which I had showed everyone within your U. C. C, she read the letter, and then I explained that he has already been seen in our local hospital and I had only brought him in for a change of dressing, and she seem bewildered as to why, all this fuss had been caused, and why my son was not allowed anything to eat or drink, within 30 minutes of this discussion, a separate nurse found a clinical room to have a look at my son’s hand. He was now very distraught after having nothing to eat or drink for the 4 hours we had now been within the hospital. Because of the cling film, his hand was very sweaty and the burn had started to ooze slightly and was indeed stinging him now. The nurse then proceeded to put a plaster over the burn and we were finally free to go. We were leaving the hospital just before 1800 hours, a total of 5 hours after we had arrived. The nurse did apologise for the length of time we had been kept unnecessarily within the hospital.

I then managed to find a shop on the way out to purchase a drink and something to eat for my son, he was so thirsty it was unbelievable. By this time it had progressed to being very dark, and I had to then walk with my very young son, trying to find the location of my car, not to mention the high cost incurred in the car park because of the length of time we had been made to stay within the department/hospital.

The plaster was evidently pulling at his burn, and was hurting him, so on getting back to my partner and our young daughter, I gave him some Calpol to alleviate some of the pain he was evidently in at this point. By this time it was too late to be driving 200 miles homeward, so we ended up having to spend another night within Leicester, which meant we had to change all our plans, something we would not have minded at all, and would have done in a flash if the treatment provided was indeed necessary but it was wholly un-necessary and frankly, poor and giving no patient care whatsoever.

My son had managed to pull his plaster off within 2 hours of leaving the hospital, and why anyone would want to put a sticky plaster on a burn, is beyond my comprehension, on being removed the plaster had removed the top of the burn and scabbing, and had made the burn ooze, become very painful for my young son, and very uncomfortable. He was in pain for most of that night which was caused by what I felt was negligence of your staff and poor treatment given to my son.

The burn which was healing nicely, and was not affecting him much until I brought him into your care for a dressing change, is now ten times worse than before we came to your hospital. It is very sore for him now, the burn is oozing and very tacky, and no doubt will have an infection.

I find this whole experience to be deeply disheartening, how you could treat my son and myself with such disrespect, no empathy what so ever, and completely disregard our local hospital’s notes/letter, when he had already been seen, treated, was healing okay and all we required from your hospital and staff was exactly what was mentioned in the letter, a new dressing, I am not sure if this was such a hard or complicated request, that it required specialist intervention and the time of many members of the consultants, doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, and even cleaners, ward time of nurses, porters and various other teams of people, just to change a dressing, which did not even happen in the 5 hours we were there, instead he was left for long periods of time waiting, cling film which made his hand and burn sweat put so he could not use his hand, and then a plaster put onto the burn, and spare plasters given in case required, which just caused further damage and pain for my 22 month old son.

We should have been in the department at most 30 minutes, used minimal staff time, and just required a change of dressing, instead through a complete lack of care, listening, understanding the letter given, you made myself and my young son wait 5 hours, be passed around the hospital, causing him much more pain, distress and further damage of a burn which was in itself healing well.

In closing, I am extremely dissatisfied with the service, that my son received on this occasion, causing him distress, pain, further damage to a burn which was healing well, and required no further interference than a change of dressing which was communicated to all staff with copies of his notes and instructions of our local hospital, your staff completely disregarded this, making us both endure a very lengthy wait for needless and damaging treatment and movement by several members of the hospital staff. Your staff denied him access to drink / food, which in turn further distressed him. There was a complete negligence by your staff’s way of dealing with my young son and how he was left to wait / the treatment given and the complete lack of care provided.

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