A LONG-standing supporter of a hospital has slammed the treatment his infant son received there.
Flintshire-based Brian Valentine, who has campaigned to support Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s neonatal care unit for more than four years, branded the treatment given to his one-year-old son Haydn after he badly cut his head as “appalling”.
The 38-year-old, of Salisbury Street, Shotton, phoned an ambulance after Haydn fell and hit his head on the mantlepiece at the family home on Tuesday.
He said Haydn, who was treated at the hospital’s neonatal care unit after being born prematurely, was bleeding profusely and had become drowsy.
But the father-of-two said after waiting more than 20 minutes at home for an ambulance to arrive, the family had to wait a further five hours in the hospital before anybody treated Haydn after they were passed around various hospital departments.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCHUB) said it was “very sorry” for the way the family was treated, adding “this is not the way we expect children to be cared for in the emergency department”.
But Mr Valentine said: “If this is the standard of emergency care the health board thinks is acceptable then no wonder people are complaining and making public their dissatisfaction with the level of services on our doorstep.
“I appreciate accident and emergency departments can get busy, but standards were way below what I have experienced in the past.”
Mr Valentine said there was no consultant on duty at unit and his wife Nicola – who has been a member of Cherish, a parent support group for the neonatal unit at Wrexham Maelor Hospital – for many years, said priority was given to drunk people over Haydn’s treatment.
Mr Valentine said upon arrival, they had to wait 15 minutes to be booked in after a technical glitch meant they had to reboot the computer systems.
He said: “About an hour or so later, after still not being seen by a doctor, we were told abruptly they were closing pediatrics as there were no staff and we had to go into minors.
“Nothing happened – no one popped in to see why Haydn was screaming or if his condition had got worse.
“Approaching three hours after our arrival only one other patient was being treated in the cubicles.
“At about 12.10am, a nurse came in to turn down the light to see if it would calm Haydn down. There was no check up on his condition or reassurances given about how long it would be to see a doctor. A nurse said some patients were waiting to be seen from seven hours ago.”
Mr Valentine said several patients started discharging themselves because they could not wait any longer, but a friend of the Valentine family – who works as a nurse – told them on the phone to stay in the hospital because of the nature of Haydn’s head wounds.
Mr Valentine added: “It is disgusting a one-year-old child, in distress with a blatant head injury, should have been kept waiting for over five hours to be seen and treated.”
The couple have taken part in a number of fundraisers for the hospital over the years.
These include making a video parody of South Korean pop star Psy’s hit-song Gangnam Style.
A spokesman for BCUHB said: “We are very sorry for the distress caused to Haydn and his family.
“This is not the way we expect children to be cared for in the emergency department and we are looking into the concerns raised by Mr Valentine.”
The spokesman said all patients were assessed on arrival, and those needing immediate care were given priority.
They said: “Our staff work hard to ensure that patients get the care they need, and at busy times they may have to concentrate on treating seriously ill patients in other areas of the emergency department.
“Medical staff were on duty in the department throughout last Tuesday and were making sure they continually prioritised patients according to their clinical need.
“While we cannot comment further on individual cases due to patient confidentiality, we would encourage Mr Valentine to contact us directly so that we can make sure all of his concerns are looked into.”
A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at 7.57pm on Tuesday, January 21 to an address in Salisbury Street, Shotton, to reports a child had fallen and cut his head.
“This call was assessed and categorised as serious but not life-threatening, which required a response within 30 minutes.
“An emergency ambulance was dispatched at 7.59am and reached the property at 8.21pm, which was 23 minutes after the call was made. We invite the boy’s family to contact us to discuss the case in further detail should they wish to do so.”