A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl was turned away from the One Life medical centre when she damaged her ankle because her injury was not caused in an “accident”.
Abigail Hall was carried into the £20m centre in Park Road, Hartlepool, at 9pm – but she was sent away by a receptionist who refused to admit her for treatment.
She was sent to A&E at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, where she waited three hours to see a doctor – only to be told it was a simple sprain and to take paracetamol.
Her mum, Karen Blair, 39, said: “It’s ridiculous, a farce.”
Health chiefs have apologised to Abigail’s family and admitted she was taken to the right place and she should have been treated.
The incident happened on August 9 after Abigail began to complain about pains in her ankle and was unable to walk properly.
As the pain worsened her mum and partner, David Pattinson, 45, decided to take her to the 24-hour minor injuries unit at One Life to get checked over.
After the closure of the A&E at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, the injury unit became the place for minor injuries to be treated from August 2.
But when they arrived at reception they were left stunned to be told the youngster could not be seen.
David, a research technician at Durham University, carried Abigail as her ankle hurt so much yet the family say two receptionists would not even let them into the main building, saying the One Life only dealt with accidents.
Karen, of Everett Street, Hartlepool, said: “When we got there, the first thing they asked was ‘has she had an accident?’ We didn’t know. She’s nine years old and couldn’t remember how she’d hurt it.
“They said that it was ‘unfortunate’, as because she hadn’t had a specific accident she couldn’t be seen.”
“What difference does it make how someone gets hurt? She just felt the pain develop over a few hours, but wasn’t sure what caused it.
“My daughter was in a lot of pain and crying and we were being messed around. All we wanted to do was to get it checked and make sure it wasn’t serious.
“We were told in all the adverts and everything that this was the kind of thing that the One Life was for, so we don’t have to traipse all the way to Stockton.
“No-one seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing. It’s a mess.”
After travelling to the University Hospital of North Tees, Abigail was eventually seen and told thankfully there was no serious injury and to rest her foot.
Mum-of-one Karen, a legal secretary at Smith & Graham Solicitors, in Church Square, added: “It’s just lucky that we have a car because Stockton is a long way to go at nine o’clock at night. We then had to wait two-and-a-half hours in the waiting room while Abigail was still in pain. We were quite angry. Nothing was properly explained to us.”
Abigail, who goes to Eldon Grove Primary School, has since made a full recovery.
Health bosses have now accepted Abigail should have been seen by medical staff at One Life and have apologised for the blunder.
Ali Wilson, director of commissioning and system development at NHS Hartlepool, said: “We are sorry for any confusion and inconvenience which may have been caused to Ms Blair and Abigail. We are looking into what happened and will get in touch with Ms Blair to discuss any concerns further.
“We are continuing to work with all services within the urgent care centre at Hartlepool to make ongoing improvements to the system and to ensure that all patients continue to receive high quality care and are treated by the service most appropriate to their need.”