13th Aug, 2020

Stranded Redditch mum charged £50 taxi fare back from Worcester hospital

Ross Crawford 16th Mar, 2018

A REDDITCH mum had to pay out £50 to travel back from Worcestershire Royal Hospital after her seven month old baby Charlie fell ill.

No sooner had Naomi Childs put her key in the door of her Greenlands home than her son’s temperature soared and he went limp.

She immediately called for an ambulance and when they arrived the paramedics started immediately treating Charlie for meningitis and whisked him back to Worcester.

Three weeks later and Charlie is finally out of danger but the trauma of events has left its mark on Naomi.

“It’s been terrible – I’ve been in Worcester with Charlie and had to rely on friends to look after my other two children and had to call my daughter up from London to help,” said the single mum.

Naomi’s nightmare began when Charlie developed a rash on February 23.

He was taken to Worcestershire Royal but later discharged after treatment, too late for Naomi, who’d left in such a hurry she had little money on her, to take the bus home.

“I called one taxi firm in Worcester, explained the situation to them, offered them my bank details and whatever guarantees they might want but they turned me down flat.

“I called another one, Crystal, and they did give us a lift home, although it cost £50. When we got there they drove me to a cashpoint and I got the money out and handed it over.”

When Charlie was rushed back to hospital later that evening Naomi went with him wanted to stay with him.

However that meant initially relying on friends to care for her two 10 year-old and 12 year-old until her daughter Shannon, aged 20, who has a liver and lung condition, could come up from London to take over running the household.

“They’ve got a cashpoint at the hospital and Shannon didn’t have any money on her,” said Naomi, a full time carer.

“The problem was how to give her money to look after the children. She tried to take the bus to Worcester so I could give her some cash but they refused to take her because she didn’t have the fare, even though I’d told them I’d come out and pay them.”

In the end the family struggled through and coped but it’s left Naomi’s head spinning and with a warning for the parents of other young children.

“The staff on Riverbank ward at Worcester have been absolutely fantastic, I can’t thank them enough.

“Charlie still has an infection in his hip and he’s on antibiotics but it looks like he is on the mend.

“I just want to warn parents that meningitis isn’t simply about a rash, there’s the sepsis to think of too. Charlie’s temperature soared and he went completely limp, like jelly.

“He’s lucky to come out with all his arms and legs and alive, I’m just thankful for the care he received.

“The hospital needs to lay on some sort of transport for patients as people from Redditch are getting stuck in Worcester.”

A spokesperson for the three Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “There are a range of transport options available – such as community transport – to help people access health services across Worcestershire.

“However these are not currently available 24 hours a day. Additionally Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust runs a scheme which offers some patients the opportunity to claim back their travel costs.”

More information about this can be found at www.worcsacute.nhs.uk/our-hospitals/worcestershire-royal-hospital/travel-costs .

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