A BANGOR father, whose young daughter is due to be transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital for urgent treatment, has strongly criticised health care provision in Northern Ireland. Chris Dalzell and his partner welcomed their second daughter, Hailie on April 18 this year. Hailie is currently an inpatient at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast.

The child has an unknown medical condition which causes her significant discomfort and pain spasms. The Ulster Hospital initially believed Hailie had an inverted anus, which would need correction via surgery, but this was later discounted after the family saw a private doctor at the Ulster Independent Clinic.

Hailie was admitted to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children on July 17 where medics considered a range of possible causes for her problems including an allergy to milk and gastroesophageal reflux disease. While in the hospital Hailie caught Covid. However, three weeks later and without a diagnosis being made, Mr Dalzell was told that doctors wanted to discharge Hailie. “On Friday, the nurses came around to the ward and explained to me that they wanted to discharge Hailie because they thought she was better,” he explained. “I expressed my concerns to the consultant and the nurses in charge in the ward, that I didn’t think my daughter was any better.”

Hailie was indeed discharged on Saturday, August 6, but within 12 hours of leaving the hospital she had to be readmitted. Further tests were carried out and it was discovered Hailie’s stomach is lying vertically in her body rather than horizontally.

However, after further treatment in hospital, including the insertion of two tubes, doctors have now admitted they don’t know if this is the cause of her problems, explained Mr Dalzell. “They have admitted now that they don’t know if it’s her stomach or if it’s her bowel causing her issues and they just need her to be seen by Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London,” he added. Mr Dalzell lodged a complaint with the Belfast Trust in August.

He is particularly concerned that Halie is being kept continually sedated in the hospital “I lodged a complaint with the Trust for delaying diagnosis, the misuse of medication and neglect of a three month-old baby. I felt that it was getting to the stage, they were neglecting her. They weren’t doing anything to help her” Mr Dalzell said.

The Bangor father said he intends to hand deliver a letter to 10 Downing Street detailing the situation, as well as seek a face-to-face meeting with Health Minister, Robin Swann. “I think it’s something that I need to do, not just for my case and for Hailie, but for everyone here in Northern Ireland. We are being treated like a secondclass country.

We are not able to provide adequate health care in Northern Ireland for sick kids.” “If Stormont aren’t going to get their act together, get home rule back, we need to be ruled by somebody. We need somebody in place to help our citizens. If they’re not going to put their differences aside over the protocol or whatever else, then Westminster needs to step in and not let us suffer anymore” he believes. A spokesman for the Belfast Trust apologised to the family for the length of time it has taken to formally respond to his complaint. “Staff at the children’s hospital are experiencing tremendous pressure due to the number of children being brought to the hospital on a daily basis which has contributed to this delay,” he said. “Complaints are investigated by the multidisciplinary team with a formal written response completed following investigation.” “The team responsible for Hailie’s care have discussed Mr Dalzell’s complaint with him verbally on a number of occasions.

We know that he and his family are extremely worried about Hailie, and we want to do all we can to care for her and ensure she is as comfortable as possible when she is with us. “We have always been very keen to assure him that we are doing everything we can to determine the right treatment pathway for Hailie, as her condition is extremely complicated” they stated. “Hailie has been a patient at the children’s hospital for ten weeks and staff have discussed her condition in detail verbally with her family.