Parents of toddler who died from meningitis tell MPs hospital staff were 'dismissive' of their concerns

The parents of a toddler whose death prompted a campaign calling for more children to be given the meningitis B vaccine have told MPs they felt staff were "dismissive" when they arrived at hospital with their daughter.

ITV News health editor Rachel Younger reports:

Jenny and Neil Burdett told MPs they didn't feel like their or their GPs concerns were taken seriously when they arrived with their two-year-old Faye.

A picture of Faye in her hospital bed shared online by her family prompted a flood of support for a petition calling for the Meningitis B vaccine to be rolled out to all children following her death.

Faye's father Neil Burdett told MPs that the family shared the picture to try and prevent others from suffering the same fate.

He said: "That was just to raise awareness, if nothing else, to stop other families and other children from going through the two weeks we had just had."

Giving evidence to the Petitions Committee, Mr and Mrs Burdett praised their GP but said the hospital staff were "dismissive" of their concerns:

Mr Burdett said he also believed that there are "issues with diagnosis".

He told MPs: "We went to the GP, he decided something wasn't right, he wasn't happy. He rang a clinic at our local hospital and sent her straight down. We were there for two hours and discharged with a viral infection. Six hours later we were back there and she was critically ill. So we do obviously have issues with diagnosing it.

"What doesn't help is that they tell you to give them Calpol before you go to hospital - well you are just masking the symptoms by doing that. You should take them in ill - the doctor needs to see them ill.

"There is definitely a difficulty with diagnosing it, either that or they don't want to jump to that but I would say that there is an issue there."

Ex-England rugby captain Matt Dawson told MPs there needs to be more awareness of the condition. He joined the campaign following his two-year-old son Sam's battle with meningitis, which he survived, in February this year.

Also giving evidence to MPs was Lee Booth, who started the petition after one of his daughters was refused the vaccine on age ground.

He told the committee: "What price do you put on a child's life at the end of the day? We have got a vaccine out there, we should be using it."

More than 823,000 people signed the petition but the Government has rejected the call for the meningitis B vaccine to be given to all children, with officials saying the NHS budget is a "finite resource".

The Committee said it will schedule a debate on the issue.