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Norwich doctors 'would not visit my sick son'

PUBLISHED: 07:23 28 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:34 01 July 2010

Cheryl Staff, who claims doctors refused to visit her sick child at home.

Cheryl Staff, who claims doctors refused to visit her sick child at home.

Sarah Hall

A heavily pregnant woman has hit out at her GP surgery after she claimed doctors refused to visit her sick 13-month-old son at home.

Cheryl Staff, 21, called the Lakenham Surgery after her son William had been vomiting all night and had a high temperature and a fever.

A heavily pregnant woman has hit out at her GP surgery after she claimed doctors refused to visit her sick 13-month-old son at home.

Cheryl Staff, 21, called the Lakenham Surgery after her son William had been vomiting all night and had a high temperature and a fever.

The single mum said she was unable to get to the doctors herself because she is 35 weeks' pregnant and asked doctors to come to her home in Harwood Road, Lakenham, but they refused, saying it was “not their policy”.

She said: “I didn't know what to do because William was so poorly all through the night. I could not get him to stop crying and throwing up. I called at about 8.20am and spoke to a receptionist who said she would get someone to call me back. The on-call doctor rang me and I explained I had transport problems and was heavily pregnant. I was told they don't come out for those kind of things. The practice manager called me back about an hour later and had pretty much the same attitude.”

A spokesman for Lakenham Surgery said: “Lakenham Surgery is unable to comment on this story because of our duty of patient confidentiality.”

Miss Staff said: “I understand doctors don't want to come out if they don't have to. But in this case I am on my own, about to give birth and needed someone to come and see my son.

“He was very poorly and still is and I am very upset that we were dismissed in such a way by the medical profession.

“By this time I was beside myself with worry. I couldn't get to the doctors and my son was still ill, but they didn't even give me any other advice about how I could get help for him. They said it wasn't their policy and that was it.”

Miss Staff said the doctor who called her asked what her son's symptoms were and when she described them to him he said William was probably suffering a 24-hour virus. But she has since been in touch with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital because William has developed a rash on his torso.

Doctors are not obliged to make home visits and it is down to each surgery's discretion and how they assess the initial situation.

Some of the circumstances when GPs visit their patient at home include when they're confined due to illness or disability and when urgent treatment could be administered more quickly by visiting them.

Have you got a health story for us? Call Sarah Hall on 01603 772426 or email sarah.hall2@archant.co.uk

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