Waiting in a hospital A&E department with a sick or injured child is every parent’s nightmare, especially when the wait comes after a lengthy journey to reach the hospital.
March mum-of-three Ruth Gowler knows exactly what it’s like to wait and that is why she is backing the Treat Me Local health campaign launched by MP Steve Barclay.
The campaign has a 10-point wish-list of health services which Steve wants to see delivered to improve access to healthcare across Fenland – including extending the opening hours of the minor injuries units at Doddington and North Cambs Hospitals.
At present the units at both Doddington and Wisbech are open from 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and only the Doddington unit is open at weekends, from 9am to 5pm Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays.
But as Ruth – whose three children have all had to visit A&E in the past – will testify, being able to get the help needed closer to home makes a huge difference.
“I’ve sat in A&E for hours with all of the children at some point, and also with my parents and even friends who have needed emergency care, and it is stressful. When you go to A&E you know that it is going to be at least three or four hours before you get out.
“But I have also used the minor injuries unit at Doddington and the service there is great. I don’t think we have ever had to wait any longer than a few minutes before being seen. The staff are friendly and efficient and I know we are not going to be too long.”
Ruth’s most recent trip to the Doddington unit was with eldest son James Rudolph (16), who suffers with hayfever and had a major allergic reaction.
“He was helping his granddad pull black grass out of the wheat when he started to have a reaction. His eyes were swollen and by the time he got home his throat was also beginning to close up.
“It was about 5.30pm and I rushed him to the Doddington Minor Injuries Unit. He was seen straightaway and given an antihistamine injection. We were home not long afterwards. Half an hour later and we would have had to go to A&E at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in the rush hour traffic, which would have been a nightmare,” added Ruth.
“If the unit was to stay open until 8pm it would be really useful. As a parent you know the most likely time you are going to need to seek medical help is early in the evening, when you get home from work and the doctor’s is closed. That is why I’m backing Steve’s campaign,” she concluded.