Eastbourne toddler’s ordeal at Conquest A&E

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A toddler with suspected meningitis was laid out on a makeshift bed of two chairs as he waited for more then three hours to see a doctor at A&E.

Eastbourne mum Rose Newman pushed the two chairs together to allow her son Jack to lay down as the family waited to be seen at the Conquest Hospital, Hastings.

Rose, 27, spoke out about her experience to The Mirror.

She told the newspaper how Jack had taken a turn for the worse following a case of acute tonsillitis last week.

Rose took her son to a walk-in clinic where staff warned her to take him straight to the Conquest.

She told the Mirror when she arrived at the Conquest, she was warned the waiting time was ‘really long’ and the children’s ward were ‘too busy’ to take Jack.

She told the tabloid: “We were in a sort of side-room, not quite the corridor, not a proper waiting area. I think it should have had a bed in it but it didn’t.

“We couldn’t cuddle him to soothe him because he would take on our body heat so we were trying to make him as comfortable as possible.

“When I asked about a bed, they said there simply wasn’t any.”

Rose told the Mirror she had bought Jack’s quilt with her to allow him to lay on his makeshift bed while she tried to find someone who could help her poorly son.

She said to the newspaper: “They’re at breaking point. There were ambulances queuing out of the door, no beds and she was really apologetic but there was nothing she could do.

“No-one could do anything. They were running around like chaos. It was really bad, really scary.”

Jack was eventually seen by a doctor just after midnight.

Fortunately the toddler did not have meningitis and was allowed to go home after medics brought his temperature down.

Labour leader highlighted Jack’s experience at the hospital during Prime Ministers Questions at the House of Commons on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said: “On attending A&E Jack was assessed by a clinical practitioner as soon as he arrived.

“It was decided that Jack did not require a bed.

“He and his mum were put in an assessment cubicle which is a seated area within the emergency department.

“During this time Jack was monitored by the nursing team and given paracetamol for his temperature.

“Jack’s mother laid him down.

“Jack did wait over three hours to see a doctor due to the volume of other patients being seen.

“Following a medical assessment Jack and his mum returned home after being in the hospital for around four hours.

“The cubicle they were put into does not have a bed as it is for assessment and not treatment of patients.

“Had it been clinically necessary for Jack to be admitted to a bed in the hospital this would have been done.”