Hospital 'too busy' to treat sick boy

An angry mother who suspected her son had meningitis has made an official complaint after she was forced to drive the sick six-year-old to Colchester Hospital for treatment.

IPSWICH: An angry mother who suspected her son had meningitis has made an official complaint after she was forced to drive the sick six-year-old to Colchester Hospital for treatment.

Nicki Collett, from the Pinewood area in Ipswich, was frantic when son Jay woke in the middle of the night with a stiff neck, cold feet and a high temperature.

The mum-of-two was on high alert because of the recent suspected meningitis deaths of three Ipswich children - Ellie Parsons, Rhianna Warner and Kyron Vince.

Mrs Collett used a checklist poster produced for parents by The Evening Star which lists the symptoms of the brain disease before calling the out-of-hours service.

She was told to attend the Riverside Clinic in Ipswich, where she was seen by a nurse practitioner who checked Jay over told Mrs Collett to take him to Colchester Hospital - rather than nearby Ipswich Hospital which was too busy to treat the youngster.

The 31-year-old drove to Colchester where it was later confirmed he had severe tonsillitis.

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She said: “I cannot bear to think what would have happened if it was meningitis. We called the out-of-hours service at 2am but by the time we got to the hospital and it was discovered to be tonsillitis it must have been around 6am.

“If it was meningitis, it only takes a short time to become serious. I couldn't believe we had to go to Colchester. What if we had broken down or been in an accident on the way?”

A spokesman for Take Care Now, the private firm which runs the Riverside Clinic, said: “Within five minutes Nicki was spoken to by a GP on the telephone and in approximately one hour and 30 minutes she was seen by an experienced nurse practitioner.

“We have received a formal complaint from Nicki Collett and are carrying out a full investigation.”

Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said: “We were incredibly busy that night because there were so many children in hospital.

“It was an exceptional circumstance.”

Do you know someone who has had meningitis and has a story to tell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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