PARENTS’ ANGUISH AT TREATMENT

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A MANEA family have hit out at the out-of-hours doctors service after they were unable to get their seven-month-old daughter seen on Christmas Day.

Little Lacey-May Smith woke up with a rash on Christmas Day that steadily got worse, but despite repeated calls to the Chatteris George Clare Surgery out-of-hours service, her parents were allegedly told not to take her to hospital and to put water or E45 cream on the rash.

It was not until Boxing Day, when the angry red rash had blistered and spread over her whole body, that Swaley Smith and Abbey Baxter, of Park Road, Manea, were told to take her straight to Doddington Hospital.

Lacey-May was seen and sent home with some medicine, but her parents took her back later that day when the rash got worse.

She was then transferred to Hinchingbrooke Hospital and admitted for four days, where she was given antibiotics and pain relief for a mystery skin infection.

Swaley is angry that nobody would come out to see her on Christmas Day.

“The doctors at the hospital said if they had seen her earlier, it wouldn’t have got as bad as it did,” he said.

Lacey-May’s rash started on her cheeks and bottom and Abbey thought it was a teething rash at first.

But it got worse throughout the day and by the next morning had spread to her back, chest and arms.

Abbey said: “Her bottom was awful. It had all blistered and split open. It was terrible, every time she did anything in her nappy, she cried because it hurt her so much.”

Swaley said the rash just “exploded” overnight and they had no idea what was wrong with their daughter.

Lacey-May was clearly in discomfort from it and was rubbing herself on things to try to scratch it.

Abbey said she was “cherry red”, with spots that were blistering and weeping.

At first the doctors thought Lacey-May had slapped cheek syndrome, a common viral infection usually characterised by bright red cheeks, but that was quickly ruled out.

Now they believe it was a virus she picked up after having a cold that became a skin infection and quickly spread over her body. However she was due to see a skin specialist this week to get a definitive answer.

Christine Macleod Medical Director for NHS Cambridgeshire said: “I am sorry that the family feel they have had a poor experience.

“To date, neither the out-of-hours-service provided by Urgent Care Cambridgeshire nor NHS Cambridgeshire have been contacted by the family.

“I would urge them to contact us as soon as possible through the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0800-279-2535 so that we can thoroughly review the care they received.

“In the meantime I would like to reassure residents of Cambridgeshire that we have had a good level of medical cover over the holiday periods.

“Over 25 and 26 December, Urgent Care Cambridgeshire dealt with 1593 patients. Out of this 781 were seen at the five primary care centres throughout the county and 204 home visits were made.

“If people are concerned about any healthcare service they receive it is important they contact us.”