A BOY from Flackwell Heath was ‘robbed of his childhood’ after Bucks health staff failed to act on his parents’ concerns about his poor eyesight.
The Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has now apologised to his ‘heartbroken’ parents and an undisclosed settlement has been reached after they admitted liability.
Billy Wells, now 12, was diagnosed with Dyspraxiam (a development co-ordination disorder), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when he was five but only after his family battled for years for him to be tested.
Billy’s parents, Charlie and Tracy Wells, noticed throughout his early years that he wasn’t developing as quickly as his three siblings and they expressed concerns to their health visitor and also their GP.
They were assured that he was fine and that he was just slower to develop than the others.
However, their fears were confirmed after a family holiday to Disneyland Paris, when Billy wouldn’t look at the camera as he said he couldn’t see it, this came after he repeatedly sat close to the television and would cry for his bottle when it was next to him.
The family immediately went to opticians after the holiday where they confirmed he was suffering from hypermetropica amblyopia a form of short-sightedness.
The settlement will help fund future occupational therapy, optical and physiotherapy costs and will be used to pay for extra tuition for Billy.
Charlie Wells said: “As a family we were heartbroken that Billy was left with undiagnosed conditions for so long and we feel that he was robbed of his early childhood.
“We raised our concerns with health visitors - on numerous occasions but we were simply told he was fine.”
He added: “We were devastated and could not believe he had gone through so many years of his young life not being able to see properly.
“When we spoke to our health visitor about Billy’s diagnosis, she told us that she had filled out the application form for the Griffiths test but never sent it off as she was overworked and Billy must have slipped through the net.
“I was upset that Billy spent years of his early life struggling when all he needed was a simple assessment which would have helped him get access to the right treatment.”
The Healthcare Trust admitted they failed to act on Billy’s parents’ concerns about his poor vision and refer him for the Griffiths assessment (which measures mental development in young children).
Mr Wells added: “The hardest part was knowing something was wrong with Billy, we repeatedly asked for help, but no one did anything.
“To be vindicated at this stage is a massive achievement and proves that healthcare professional should always listen to parent’s concerns because they know their children the best.”
A Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust spokesman said: “Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is sincerely sorry for this unfortunate incident which took place in the early 2000s, when Billy was under the care of Community Health Services Trust.
“In 2010, Bucks Healthcare took over the management of community services, and since then we have made changes to strengthen our policies and procedures and the support provided to children and families by health visitors and other professionals.
“We are working hard to ensure this never happens again.”
They added we are glad a settlement has been agreed and wish Billy and his family well for the future.