A CONCERNED mum is calling for a change to the system at a Musselburgh health centre after she couldn’t get an emergency appointment when her daughter developed a lump “the size of a tennis ball” on her neck.

Charlee Goodsman, 31, of Eskview Terrace, phoned Riverside Medical Practice earlier this month after noticing “a significant swelling” on the side of her daughter Marley’s neck the day before her fourth birthday.

“I phoned the Riverside and asked for an emergency appointment explaining it was the size of a tennis ball,” she told the Courier.

The mum-of-four, having given birth to premature twins – a boy Freddie and girl Cassidy – in July, was initially worried that it might be mumps.

“They hadn’t yet been immunised and were vulnerable to viruses due to being six weeks premature. Freddie had been in intensive care,” said Ms Goodsman, who was told that NHS 24 would phone her back.

She added: “NHS 24 phoned me back three hours later telling me to give her Nurofen. By this time the swelling had got bigger.

“I phoned the surgery back and explained I was very worried as the swelling had spread round to behind her ear. I was told all they could do was phone NHS 24 again.

“They were apparently reassured that she didn’t have a fever, even though I explained how big the lump was – it was massive.”

“By this point I was ready to drive her to [Edinburgh’s] Sick Kids [hospital]. They can’t diagnose it over the phone.

“However, I had a call back offering me a nurse appointment.

“This was at 3pm – I originally phoned at 8am.”

Ms Goodsman, who also has a nine-year-old daughter Indie, said the nurse was “alarmed” when she saw Marley and sent them straight to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

She said: “When I got her to the hospital at 5pm, the lead consultant confirmed she had an infected lymph node, so she had to be given a course of antibiotics.

“The Riverside system, coupled with NHS 24, meant I had a panic drive to the hospital at 5pm on a Friday night rather than at 8am when I could have been seen by a doctor straight away.

“I wonder what exactly constitutes an emergency appointment in their eyes.

“It all could have been avoided if I had been given an appointment or even if someone said ‘that sounds pretty bad, you should go to the hospital’.”

She added: “Anything life-threatening you would go to the hospital anyway.

“I have been through quite a lot with the twins, it was a difficult start to their lives. You are already in that heightened state of worry anyway.

“I feel something has to change – it was completely unnecessary.

“I would be very reticent if any of the other children got sick again to even bother trying to get an appointment if that is what is going to happen. I would probably just take them to the Sick Kids.”

A spokesperson for NHS 24 said: “We are sorry to hear of Ms Goodsman’s experience of our service.

“NHS 24 in partnership with the Riverside Medical Practice are committed to providing the best standards of care for all of our patients.

“While we never discuss individual cases with the media, neither NHS 24 nor the Riverside Medical Practice have received a complaint regarding this issue from the family involved and would encourage them to do so if they wish to discuss further.”