Surgery accused of putting babies at risk over immunisation delays

Station Plaza Health Centre, Hastings. SUS-150408-094513001
Station Plaza Health Centre, Hastings. SUS-150408-094513001

An angry father has accused a doctors’ surgery of putting his daughters at risk after failing to give them potentially life-saving vaccinations on time.

Thomas Brunger’s youngest daughter Alyssia, has fallen behind with her jabs because of a lack of appointments available at the Plaza Surgery.

Her first set of inoculations, due at eight weeks, were one week late.

He said: “When I phoned to make her appointment for her second lot I was told by the receptionist that a doctor needs to be in the practice when immunisations are carried out and they were unsure when this would be.

“They proceeded to book her in on April 10 at Little Ridge Surgery, leaving a six-week gap between her immunisations, meaning her jabs were delayed by two weeks.

“My partner took Alyssia to the surgery, which is completely out of the way for us as we have to rely on public transport.

“She got all the way up there to be told no doctor had turned up and they couldn’t carry out the immunisations.”

A new appointment was made at the Plaza Surgery, but by this time Alyssia’s vaccinations were four weeks late.

The baby’s angry father says the surgery has now told him to expect her 16 week vaccinations “in the next couple of months”.

Mr Brunger fears the delay could leave little Alyssia susceptible to serious illness.

He told the Observer: “My partner went to the surgery to try and book our youngest in for her third lot of baby immunisations and also our three-year-old for her pre-school injections.

“She was told by the receptionist they had no appointments available for weeks and weeks and that they are going have to wait and see if anyone makes a cancellation to be able to fit them in for the immunisations.”

He added: “All I am worried about is if my child contracts something these jabs prevent against.

“These are life-changing diseases.

“This is not something that can be put on the shelf and left, in my eyes.”

Mr Brunger also experienced difficulties in getting his middle daughter, Poppy-Mai, vaccinated.

Her 12 week jabs were done at 16 weeks, while the jabs due at 16 weeks were not administered until Poppy-Mai was 22 weeks old.

He said: “We tried to contact the surgery on numerous occasions to get an appointment for Poppy’s 12 week jabs.

“In the end our health visitor had to ring to get the appointment as we were having no luck getting hold of the surgery.”

Mr Brunger claims he has only ever received one reminder letter from the surgery about the inoculations.

Mr Brunger said it is a struggle to book appointments at the clinic.

On one occasion he and his partner Charlotte made more than 100 calls trying to get an appointment for a poorly Poppy-Mai.

He said: “After over 100 calls and no success we, finally got through to be told there was no appointments available.

“Considering she was under a year old, she hadn’t been sleeping, crying in pain and had an awful cough with red cheeks – she wasn’t herself at all – my partner decided to take Poppy to the walk in centre and was seen 
by a doctor and got no diagnosis.

“She then persisted and took her to A&E and Poppy was diagnosed with tonsillitis and prescribed Penicillin.”

To add insult to injury, Mr Brunger says he has made nine complaints to the surgery over the last year – and has yet to receive a response.

He said: “I have spoken to their complaints manager and they have received none of my complaints.

“The reason for that is I was not a patient.”

He added: “Nine different complaints and I have never even had a phone call back from someone.

“It’s just ridiculous.”

Mr Brunger’s partner was registered with the Cornwallis Surgery before it was moved into the Plaza.

He has tried to move his daughters to his own surgery at Roebuck House in the Old Town, but both live outside the catchment area.

A spokesperson from the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are sorry to hear that Mr Brunger has been experiencing problems regarding his daughter’s inoculations and arranging appointments at Cornwallis Plaza surgery.

“We are working closely with the practice and will look into these issues, with practice staff, as a matter of urgency.”

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