A MOTHER of four from Pembroke says she was forced to take her sick two-year-old – with no coat or shoes - on an early hours train after being discharged from Glangwili A&E this morning.

Joanna Allen and daughter Nyla were rushed to Carmarthen by ambulance when paramedics became concerned that she was extremely unwell on Monday.

After a wait of two hours Joanna said she was left frustrated by a doctor’s 'misdiagnosis' of molluscum contagiosum, a common viral skin infection, as chicken pox and an alleged lack of thorough examination.

They were then sent away with advice to administer water with a syringe, she said.

In a post on facebook, Joanna said this left her and Nyla stranded at 3am in Carmarthen with no advice or support given on how they might get home other than being told a taxi would be £80.

Joanna explained: “There was a train at 5.30am, my child had no coat or shoes and was clearly unwell and tired. I got a taxi to the station in the bitter cold with a ill two-year-old, no pram, no shoes, no coat and arrived back in Pembroke at 6.45am.

“The train didn’t charge me, must have had a heart, unlike Glangwilli, we then had a taxi at 7am, waiting in the cold, to my home address.

“Knowing my child was unwell I took her to my GP in Pembroke Dock at 2pm today (Monday) where she was diagnosed with a very bad case of tonsillitis and was prescribed 10 days of antibiotics.

“As a mother I don’t think any child should be treated this way, a complaint has been made. Shame on the big wigs that took away Pembrokeshire’s facilities. Disgusting!”

Executive Director of Operations and Deputy Chief Executive Joe Teape said: "We regret to hear of any patient experience which has not been positive and would urge any individual with a concern to contact us directly so it can be looked into further. 

"There are occasions when patients are brought by ambulance to the Emergency Department assessed at the time, to be the best place for an individual patient to be seen and provided with any subsequent treatment that may be necessary. Clinical staff assess patients and either provide treatment, admit into hospital or if they are clinically fit, they can return home. We expect our staff to be compassionate and helpful when people have difficulty getting home, and they often signpost to non-emergency patient transport, which can provide assistance. In situations where this is unavailable but further support is required, they will ensure transport onwards to the nearest public transport provider. We continue to review non-emergency patient transport and have put a number of innovative schemes into place."

Hwyel Dda Health Board’s advice on its website states: “It is very unusual to be discharged from an inpatient ward overnight. An Emergency Department will discharge you when you are clinically fit. Normally people are expected to organise their own transport home – whether that be using public or private transport or asking for help from family and friends.

Free phone facilities for taxis are available in each hospital (Glangwili – next to the Emergency Department main entrance and in the Outpatients Department; Prince Philip Hospital – next to Emergency Department entrance and next to the shop in the hospital entrance foyer; Withybush Hospital – at the front of the waiting area in the Emergency Unit, at the entrance to the cafe and next to the main corridor entrance door; Bronglais Hospital – next to the Emergency Department reception desk and in the Outpatient’s Department).

“There is a discharge lounge at Glangwili Hospital to provide a more comfortable place to wait for transport if required. It is within the Priory Medical Day Unit, adjacent to the Emergency Department at the hospital. It is open 8.30am until 6pm.

“If someone has difficulty returning home, we urge them to talk to the healthcare provider at the time, so they can help if possible.

“A local transport scheme may be available (see above). Ward Sisters and hospital site managers can also consider using Health Board money to pay for a contracted taxi in the circumstance of no alternative transport for:

• frail elderly patients

• young vulnerable families

The decision is that of the ward sister and hospital site manager.