Mum rushed to A&E with son who was struggling to breathe - only to find the doors closed

Hayley Thomas was left horrified after she rushed her six-year-old to A&E only to find the hospital was closed

A worried mum has blasted a “crumbling” A&E service after she was turned away from a hospital with her son who was struggling to breathe.

Hayley Thomas, 41, was told that Southport & Ormskirk Hospital in Lancashire was shut after arriving at the A&E department in the middle of the night with her son Buddy.

The mum was left shocked after being instructed to go to another hospital 30 minutes away as her child struggled to breathe.

Hayley has now launched a petition to open A&E departments 24/7, urging hospital bosses to take action before it “could cost lives”.

Hayley Thomas was left shocked after trying to take her son Buddy to their local A&E int he middle of the night only to find it closed. (Credit: SWNS)

Hayley was woken up by Buddy making ‘funny noise’

The mum-of-two said she had been woken up in the middle of the night after hearing Buddy making a “funny noise”.

When she found her son, she saw that he was struggling to breathe.

She said: “I woke up in the night to a funny noise, and went into his room, and he was just struggling to breath. He was sat up, and he wasn’t even awake.

“So we brought him to, and we tried to calm him down, but he was just getting more agitated.

“I said ‘Right, let’s go!’, and I thought ‘I’m not ringing 111 because I know they’ll just say, ‘go to A&E’.”

Buddy was experiencing breathing problems when his mum tried to take him to A&E. (Credit: SWNS)

Hayley immediately strapped her young boy into the car and drove to the local children’s A&E department at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital.

However, upon arrival, she was told by a security guard that the building was closed.

She said: “I parked up, got him out of the car, and it was all dark and shut.

“So I walked around the corner and went to another entrance. And a security guard just said, “Oh no, no – we’re closed! You can go to Alder Hey Hospital if you want.”

“He didn’t ask me about my son. It could have been anything, and it could have got progressively worse. It’s just not right. I was very angry”.

‘The service is crumbling before our eyes’

During the added 30 minute drive, Hayley noticed that Buddy’s breathing slowly improved.

She decided to drive home and arranged a GP appointment in the morning, with Buddy being diagnosed with suspected asthma.

She said: “It’s just not right, that’s all I know in my heart. The A&E should be 24/7.

“I think the service is crumbling before our eyes, and it’s going to affect us all. I don’t know whether its funding or another excuse.”

Buddy’s dad Gary stayed at home with his sister as Hayley tried to desperately get help for her son. (Credit: SWNS)

On its website, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital say that the A&E department is open “seven days a week, 8am to midnight”, with time restricted “due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic”.

Hayley launches petition

Shortly after her harrowing experience at the hospital, Hayley launched a petition for hospital bosses to reopen A&E departments full time.

She said: “I just thought I’d start this petition. I didn’t know what to do or anything. And initially, it was really slow going, but it’s picking up a little bit of pace now.

“I just feel like I have to do something. I can’t just go, ‘my kids are fine now, I’m alright’.”

She added: “My kids are getting older now, so you don’t go through this as much, whereas when they are babies, you need that there – you need to know that’s open.

“I’ve been lots of times when the kids are babies, and you go in a complete panic.”

The petition has been backed by other parents, with the online campaign gaining more than 1,100 signatures already.

Hayley is urging bosses to go back to pre-pandemic opening times, saying: “The whole country can go wherever they want, whenever they want, but if you can’t mix in A&E - that just doesn’t make sense.

“That’s where we need to be when we’ve got something bloody wrong with us. You can’t close because we’re in close proximity.”