Parents of tragic meningitis toddler Faye Burdett say they were 'pushed aside'



The parents of a toddler whose death prompted hundreds of thousands of people to back a campaign calling for greater provision of the meningitis B vaccine have said they felt "pushed aside" by a hospital worker after raising concerns about their daughter.

Two-year-old Faye Burdett's mother Jenny, from Maidstone, Kent, told MPs the medic they encountered was "dismissive".

Faye died on Valentine's Day after an 11-day fight.

An image of the youngster covered in a rash and lying in a hospital bed just before she died was shared by her family. 

The harrowing picture prompted a flood of support for a petition calling for the meningitis B vaccine to be given to all children.

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

"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," he said.

Giving evidence to the Petitions Committee, Jenny Burdett said: "Our GP was amazing. Faye had never been to the doctors in two years of her life so we aren't people who ring up every 30 seconds. When we got there he looked over and and he trusted that I knew that something was not right.

"Our failing, we believe, is when we got to the hospital. We were, I wouldn't say pushed aside...

Mr Burdett continued: "Not taken seriously I think, and the GP was not taken seriously. There was a flippant comment of an 'over-cautious GP' and as it turned out he wasn't over cautious.

Mrs Burdett added: "We are believers in our health care system. It is amazing. We have seen the best of it in one sense.

Mr Burdett continued: "But it only takes one person to make a mistake and the whole things falls apart.

Mrs Burdett added: "She was dismissive."

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.

"The campaign was bought to my attention after reading stories about Faye and the time period mirrored where Sam was," he said.

"It was really being inspired by what the family had done and I thought it was a great opportunity to spread awareness."

Also giving evidence to MPs was Lee Booth, who instigated the most-signed online petition in parliamentary history.

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