'He wasn't a priority': Mum tells of having to wait hours in A&E for two-year-old son's treatment

ITV News Central Correspondent Phil Brewster reports on health staff shortages in the East Midlands and how its affecting people in need of treatment

A mum has told ITV News Central of having to wait hours in A&E to try and get her two-year-old son treated in hospital after he was injured. 

Charlotte Astle, who took her son Bradley to Royal Derby Hospital, told ITV News Central Correspondent Phil Brewster: "He cut his lip quite badly open - it was bleeding quite a bit. 

She said her son was injured after falling over in a playground at Chaddesden in Derby.

Ms Astle added: "So I went into panic mode and I walked out of the park.

"I put him in his pushchair and when I saw his lip I thought this is more than just a little cut."

She said after waiting hours she was eventually told he needed stitches and would have to come back the next day. 

After another seven-hour wait the following day Bradley finally went into theatre, but complications meant two more visits - each lasting several hours - before Bradley was given the all-clear. 

'I just feel he wasn't a priority at all', Ms Astle says

Ms Astle said: "There aren't enough staff. I think that's why we were waiting."

"Because he's two years old, you'd think he get some kind of priority.

"But I just feel he wasn't a priority at all."

In response to Ms Astle, the Royal Derby Hospital said its Children's Emergency Department is currently seeing a 140% in demand compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The hospital adds it is sorry to hear the concerns raised about the care Bradley received and would like to speak to the family to see what could have been done differently. 

It comes as the East Midlands region has the highest proportion of unfilled medical consultant posts in England, according to a census by the Royal College of Physicians.

The study found more than sixty per cent (63%) of doctor vacancies in the region went unfilled last year, mostly due to a lack of applicants.

The West Midlands had the second-highest proportion of unfilled posts at 61%.

In comparison, only 38% of appointments were unsuccessful in London.

The Department for Health and Social Care have said there are a record number of consultants working in NHS hospital trusts.

Officials have said many higher student trainees were unable to complete their training during the pandemic, meaning there will potentially be fewer newly qualified consultants to apply for posts.

The census report added Covid has also affected the NHS financially and this too will have had an impact on appointing consultants.

Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: "We're being hit by a perfect storm of high demand for services and not enough staff."

"This can't go on. The fact that so many posts were unfilled because there were no applicants shows the supply of doctors falls woefully short of demand."