Michelle Caspenenti feared her daughter had appendicitis so raced her to Ormskirk Children’s A&E but when they got there they discovered it had closed at midnight
A mum who feared her daughter had appendicitis has issued a stark warning to parents after they turned up at an A&E unit to find it was closed.
Michelle Caspenenti drove her daughter to Ormskirk Children’s A&E but much to her surprise it was shut when she arrived.
The furious parent, from Southport, said her 14-year-old daughter was in a significant amount of pain and they were forced to drive to Alder Hey in Liverpool instead.
The pair had left their home just after midnight on December 23 and their trip totalled more than an hour.
The 43-year-old has now issued a warning to parents about the opening times of the A&E.
Michelle told the Liverpool Echo: “All the way there I kept saying to her ‘it’s okay, we’re nearly there’ and then we got there and I was just like ‘what?’.
“I think it’s crazy that we have to drive all the way to Ormskirk as it is when I live three roads away from Southport Hospital. For them to close and not have a 24-hour service I think is ludicrous.
“We then went up to Alder Hey and she was triaged. I had to sit there for seven hours. It was crazy. Thankfully her pain settled down because I thought she had appendicitis. She was screaming her head off.”
The opening times at Ormskirk Children’s A&E have been limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are only classed as “temporary”.
The Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust website says: “These are restricted, temporary opening hours due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Parents needing urgent medical advice after midnight should call NHS 111.
“In an emergency, always call 999. Ambulance patients will be taken directly to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. The hospital’s usual children’s A&E service operates at all other times.”
Michelle said she feared for any parent taking a seriously-ill child to Ormskirk Hospital.
“Parents need to know not to waste their time going to Ormskirk Hospital if it’s past midnight,” she said.
“It could be a vital time. Cutting out that time could be life or death for some kids.
“I’ve never seen it advertised that it shut at 12, I never knew it was shut at 10pm before they changed it to 12am either. I automatically assumed it was 24-hours because it’s an accident and emergency.”
A spokesperson for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust said: “The children’s accident and emergency department at Ormskirk hospital began temporarily closing overnight in April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The decision was made because the Trust could not maintain safe and consistent medical cover. It was taken on the advice and recommendation of a team of senior Trust doctors.
“A significant workforce challenge continues around returning to 24/7 operation given the uncertainty presented by covid, including the impact on clinical staffing.
“We keep the temporary overnight closure under review with the local NHS.
“In the meantime, children’s A&E is open seven days a week, 8am to midnight. Parents needing urgent medical advice after midnight should call NHS 111. In an emergency, always call 999.
“Ambulance patients will be taken directly to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.”