Mum's worries for two-month-old baby as he's given hospital appointment for NEXT April

A mum has spoken of her concerns after being given a hospital appointment for her two-month-old son next April.

Mum Emma with her children baby Leo, Mia, six, Bobby, five and Cian, 13
Mum Emma with her children baby Leo, Mia, six, Bobby, five and Cian, 13

Chiefs at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford say appointment letters are automatically generated and followed up by another letter or phone call to confirm an earlier appointment.

Mum of four Emma Hassall, 35, of Shifnal, says that had not happened yet for her baby son Leo Hassall.

"It is very worrying because he has breathing difficulties and is gasping for air," she said.

"The doctor thinks it a floppy larynx that flops over his airways leaving him gasping for breath.

"Having an appointment for next April is a bit extreme. We all have to make sure we are watching him breathing and the advice we have been given is to call an ambulance if his face goes blue."

Floppy larynx, or laryngomalacia, is caused by underdevelopment of the cartilage of the upper larynx and means that when Leo is asleep he "gasps for breath".

Emma says she and her husband can't leave Leo on his own in a room and his grandparents are too worried to have him over.

"Mum and dad would like to have him for a sleepover but I don't want them to be worried with the responsibility in case something happens," she said.

"It has also affected family life because his siblings have noticed it as well and our older one is having to do a bit of the watching."

Emma also has Cian, aged 13, Mia, six and five-year-old Bobby.

At the weekend they had to rush little Leo into hospital from a caravan break in Wales at 3am on Saturday. They were discharged in the morning but weren't able to get home until they picked up discharge papers at 4.30pm.

Emma said: "He had croup, which affects the windpipe and it makes the floppy larynx worse. He is now on the mend."

She added: "They are so understaffed at the hospital it is unreal."

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), has seen a rise in referrals since Covid and this has led to increased waiting times for routine general paediatric patients. But bosses say appointment letters are generated automatically and are reviewed on a daily basis.

Sara Biffen, acting chief operating officer at SaTH said: “We apologise for any confusion caused to patients by letters generated by an automated IT system; this is due to be replaced as part of our digital transformation project.

“Unfortunately, patients will sometimes receive an automated letter with a future appointment date, followed by another letter or phone call confirming an earlier appointment. This is because we review referrals and appointments daily, prioritising those with the most urgent clinical needs and bringing these forward.

“Less urgent referrals may also be brought forward as we add more clinic capacity over the coming weeks. We are sorry for any concern this has caused and would like to reassure patients that we are doing everything we can to reduce the amount of time they are waiting for an appointment.”

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