Kids ‘forced to sleep on floor’ as Strep A outbreak brings A&E ‘to its knees’

Chloe Brewer, 35, said staff looked ‘broken’ as they struggled to cope with numbers (Picture: Getty)

Concerned parents are flocking to hospitals with concerns over their children’s health following the Strep A outbreak.

A&E departments are reportedly struggling to cope with the surge in demand.

Chloe Brewer, 35, took her son Hayden to Peterborough City Hospital after he came down with alarming symptoms of Strep A.

The five-year-old’s temperature had reached 40C and he was struggling to breathe.

Chloe claimed staff looked ‘broken’ and that exhausted families had been forced to sit on the floor for hours.

She told the Mirror: ‘The NHS is on its knees. The scenes were like nothing I could ever have imagined. It was absolutely heaving. You could not even navigate around the waiting room.

‘Every chair was taken and there were people all over the floor, including very poorly children sleeping there while they waited.

‘Every child looked very, very unwell. There was a boy next to us whose lips had turned blue as he couldn’t breathe properly.

‘He had been there several hours longer than us and still hadn’t been seen.

‘The nurses looked completely fed up and broken, which I totally understand. I’m very much a champion of the NHS.’

Chloe waited three hours on the waiting room floor before she and Hayden had to return home to care for her other son.

A spokesman for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Peterborough hospital, told the Mirror: ‘We are seeing increased numbers at A&E. While we care for more people, their safety remains an absolute priority.

The Strep A outbreak has caused ripples of anxiety among families (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We encourage people to use NHS 111 for advice on where to access the most appropriate treatment before they come to hospital.’

Group A strep bacteria can cause many different infections, ranging from minor illnesses to deadly diseases.

Illnesses caused by Strep A include the skin infection impetigo, scarlet fever and strep throat.

While the vast majority of infections are relatively mild, sometimes the bacteria cause a life-threatening illness called invasive Group A Streptococcal disease.

Experts have said there is no current evidence that a new strain is circulating and the rise in cases is most likely due to high amounts of circulating bacteria and increased social mixing.

It comes amid news that local pharmacies in England are struggling from a ‘shortage’ of antibiotics available to treat Strep A infections.

In some areas, staff have ‘never seen’ so many prescriptions issued.

Hannah Sami, who manages a pharmacy in Wilmslow, Cheshire, said she had completely run out of amoxicillin – one of the antibiotics used to treat Strep A.

Pharmacies have reported a decline in antibiotics available (Picture: Getty Images)

Penicillin, often given to children in liquid form, is also in short supply for some regions.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay insisted on Wednesday that checks within the Department of Health have not revealed an issue with supply of the medicines.

However, the National Pharmacy Association has pointed to ‘blips’ in the supply chain of liquid penicillin, while the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said pharmacists across the country were struggling to source all they need.

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