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Toddler with head injury turned away from Macclesfield GP surgery

A doctor's receptionist turned away a little girl screaming and bleeding in her dad’s arms – because she wasn’t registered there. Libby Finlow, four, suffered a serious cut on her head when she fell against a wall  at Waters Green Medical Centre.

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A doctor's receptionist turned away a little girl screaming and bleeding in her dad’s arms – because she wasn’t registered there.

Libby Finlow, four, suffered a serious cut on her head when she fell against a wall  at Waters Green Medical Centre.

Her parents Janna Russell and David Finlow picked her up, ran across the corridor to the Park Lane Surgery desk and  begged the receptionist for help. But they were turned away – only to be treated without question at a neighbouring clinic just feet away in the same building.

Libby, pictured, was eventually given stitches and had to stay overnight at Macclesfield Hospital suffering serious concussion. Mrs Russell, 24, of St Andrews Road, Macclesfield, said: “I couldn't believe it.
We were beside ourselves, panicking, we were all in tears, there was blood everywhere, Libby was screaming in pain.

“And the receptionist just looked at us coldly and asked if Libby was registered there.

“David told her he was a patient there but she said to take her to her own doctor.

“We find it disgusting that they could turn away anyone, let alone a child. We were in shock. All we wanted was basic first aid.”

Waters Green Medical Centre on Sunderland Street houses six different GP practices around a common ‘atrium’.The family was at the pharmacy so David, a chef at the Rising Sun pub, could get a prescription.

Mother-of-three and nursery nurse Mrs Russell said: “The children needed to use the toilet but Libby ran into the wrong door. I called her and as she ran back she ran straight into a wall and fell over.

“We picked her up and there was blood pouring from her head.

“David carried her to Park Lane surgery because it was closest. We were so upset, she was crying and so was David. It was horrible.”

Libby’s brothers Joshua, three, and Charlie, one, were also upset and crying.

“The receptionist just looked at us and asked if she was a patient.

“David said ‘no, but I am’ and she just said we’d have to go to our own clinic.  No sympathy, not even a tissue. Nothing. She didn’t know but luckily our own surgery was in the building so we went there.”

The family went to the High Street surgery and the receptionist immediately showed them to a side room where two nurses helped them.

“They just took one look at Libby and no questions asked, they were cleaning her up and asking her questions to check her memory. Such a big difference to the way we were originally treated.

“I asked the nurse if it mattered if Libby was a patient and was told no, basic first aid should be offered to anyone in need.”

The family took Libby to A&E where her cut was stitched and then the family went home.

“But we had to take her back to hospital the next day because she couldn’t stop being sick. They kept her in overnight with a serious head injury and concussion and did a lot of tests.”

Doctors say Libby will be scarred but she is on the road to recovery.

Libby,  who had her fourth birthday just three days after the incident, said: “My head hurt and I had to sleep over at hospital.”

A spokeswoman from Central and East Cheshire PCT, which runs the centre, has now apologised after a call from the Express.

She said the surgery had received a complaint letter from the parents, adding: “We are very sorry to hear of the injuries the child sustained and would like to apologise if the parents felt the accident was dealt with inappropriately by a member of the Park Lane reception staff.”

She said the receptionist had been following protocol for dealing with accidents in the atrium. The  protocol has a different practice on call each month to dealing with emergencies in the public area.

She said: “Usually a nurse or GP from the ‘on call’ practice assesses the situation and if an ambulance is not required then the patient is advised to attend their registered practice where their medical notes are held.

“The practice on call in January was High Street Surgery which in this situation, was not called.

“The Park Lane receptionist was responding to the protocol  asking where the child was registered and suggesting the parent take her to her registered surgery.”

She added: “Both the surgery and the PCT do understand that in this circumstance, a more natural reaction for the receptionist would have been to take the child to a nurse for first aid.

“As a result of this, the practice will review this event and how it was dealt with in order that lessons for the future are learned.”

 

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