QE2 Hospital 2am nightmare says this service is not working

Sir – We would like to comment on the reply by the East and North Herts Trust s senior clinicians to the letter from Jane Dutton regarding the treatment of her daughter at the QE2 children s paediatric A&E unit. Our granddaughter had a similar experience

Sir - We would like to comment on the reply by the East and North Herts Trust's senior clinicians to the letter from Jane Dutton regarding the treatment of her daughter at the QE2 children's paediatric A&E unit. Our granddaughter had a similar experience to Mrs Dutton last Wednesday, the day you published the clinicians' letter.

She took our great grandson, her son, to school that morning and mentioned to his teacher that he was complaining of a pain. The teacher advised her to take him to her doctors. She continually got a recorded message on the phone saying that the surgery was closed and would reopen at 8.30am, it was then 9.15am. She contacted the NHS Direct service who advised her to take him to the A&E at QE2. This she did accompanied by her other two children aged two and 10 months - arriving about 9.30am. It was decided to do an exploratory operation. This they did and found that he had a cyst which they removed. When he came to after the anaesthetic he was in great pain. About 6pm he was allowed home. However soon after he started bleeding profusely. An ambulance was called and he returned to QE2 at about 6.30pm.

He then received further treatment to stem the bleeding.

At 9.30pm the children's A&E Unit closed and at 11pm all the nurses in the ward went off duty except one who volunteered to stay with our granddaughter and her son. At 2am in the morning they transferred him to the Lister Hospital. Dr Raffles and Matron Evans say that they believe the new emergency service is working well. Do they really think that transferring a traumatised six-year-old who had been at the hospital for 17 hours, had endured two visits to the operating theatre and was in great pain and was then subjected to a 30-minute ride in an ambulance at 2am is a service working well? I don't think they would if the child was theirs.

Name and address supplied.

* SIR - Dr Raffles and Matron Kath Evans (letters, October 8) completely miss the point in their reply to Jane Dutton's letter of October 1. They claim that Lister will provide night services to east and north Herts. But Jane had explained that on that evening the Lister was full, and her daughter was offered a transfer to Addenbrookes in Cambridge. Addenbrookes is 37 miles from WGC. This was late at night after they had spent over six hours in QE2 from 4pm without a break.

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Bryn Gwyndaf Jones, Brockswood Lane, WGC.

* SIR - Dr Andy Ruffles does not appear to understand that firstly closing the local paediatric and service at night and secondly referring people to the Stevenage hospital represents a degraded service however excellent the clinical service is when you can access it.

Add to this the possibility (as the Duttons found) that the Lister may be full and people will have to go further afield, the overall service is obviously woefully inadequate.

Furthermore to hide behind the deeply flawed and ironically named Better care for sick children consultation is as transparent as the Emperor's new clothes.

I for one was not presented with questions that were appropriate to the needs of the community: we were forced to opt for a lesser service.

The collective thousands of sickness miles each year that will now have to be endured by children and adults having to trudge to Stevenage, will at best, not be good for their health (as well as adding greatly to environmental damage).

Welwyn Hatfield people deserve a good local service that operates 24/7 not one that is closed for more than 10 hours a day.

David Bartlett,

Mardley Hill, Welwyn.