Atkins to ask NHS chief to look at death of boy sent home from A&E, family says

The head of NHS England is being asked to look into the case of a five-year-old boy who died a week after he was sent home from a hospital emergency department, his family said, after meeting Health Secretary Victoria Atkins.

Yusuf Mahmud Nazir died on November 23 2022, eight days after he was seen at Rotherham Hospital and sent home with antibiotics.

A report into Yusuf’s case last year, by independent consultants and published by NHS South Yorkshire, found that his care was appropriate and “an admission was not clinically required”, but this was rejected by his family.

Yusuf Mahmud Nazir death
Yusuf Mahmud Nazir died on November 23 2022, eight days after he was seen at Rotherham Hospital (Family handout/PA)

Yusuf’s uncle, Zaheer Ahmed, met Ms Atkins with other family members, including Yusuf’s mother, on Tuesday.

Speaking after the meeting, he said that the health secretary had told them she will ask Amanda Pritchard, the chief executive of NHS England, to look at the case.

Mr Ahmed told the PA news agency: “It went absolutely brilliantly. She gave us a lot of time.

“She wanted to listen to everything we’d got to say and the outcome we’ve got is very good.”

He said Ms Atkins has agreed to discuss the matter with Ms Pritchard next week.

He said: “She’s going to address all the concerns with Amanda, and ask her to have a look at the concerns, answer any questions and possibly look at another report.”

Mr Ahmed said the family understood that the secretary of state could not make a snap decision to order a new report but “she’s escalated it to the highest person possible”.

He said: “We’re really confident that another report will be issued. She was quite surprised to see all the stuff that we presented to her and what happened to Yusuf.”

Mr Ahmed has always said they were told “there are no beds and not enough doctors” in the emergency department, and that Yusuf should have been admitted and given intravenous antibiotics in Rotherham.

He said: “He should have been admitted on that day, he should have been given IV antibiotics on that day, and he wouldn’t have died.”

He said the NHS report published in October missed out a range of evidence, and the final version had 13 pages redacted from the version he was first given.

He said: “An honest fair investigation by a completely independent body. That’s what we’re wanting.”

The report published by NHS South Yorkshire concluded: “We consider that on the basis of Yusuf’s observations, presentation and diagnosis there was a reasonable expectation that the antibiotics prescribed were appropriate and an admission was not clinically required.”

It also concluded that “a bed would have been found” if an admission had been deemed necessary.

The report set out how Yusuf, who had asthma, was taken to the GP, with a sore throat and feeling unwell, on November 15. He was prescribed antibiotics by an advanced nurse practitioner.

Later that evening his parents took him to Rotherham Hospital Urgent & Emergency Care Centre (UECC) where he was seen in the early hours of the morning after a six-hour wait.

Yusuf was discharged with a diagnosis of severe tonsillitis and an extended prescription of antibiotics, the report said.

Two days later Yusuf was given further antibiotics by his GP for a possible chest infection, but his family became so concerned they called an ambulance and insisted the paramedics take him to Sheffield Children’s Hospital rather than Rotherham.

Yusuf was admitted to the intensive care unit on November 21 but developed multi-organ failure and suffered several cardiac arrests which he did not survive.

Yusuf Mahmud Nazir death
Zaheer Ahmed, uncle of Yusuf Mahmud Nazir, met Health Secretary Victoria Atkins (Dave Higgens/PA)

The report said there was only one doctor in the paediatric UECC on November 15 and, after midnight, that medic was responsible for covering adults and children.

But it added that the doctor who saw Yusuf is an experienced UECC doctor who would not have needed to refer to a paediatrician to admit him.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said on Tuesday:  “Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Yusuf Nazir’s family.

“The Secretary of State held a private meeting with Yusuf’s family today to hear their concerns.”

Dr Jo Beahan, medical director at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were all deeply saddened by the tragic circumstances surrounding Yusuf’s death.

“It is something no parent wants to go through, and our sympathies remain with Yusuf’s family.

“Given the concerns raised by Yusuf’s family at the time, an independent investigation was commissioned by the South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board.

“The trust fully co-operated with the investigation and accepted the recommendations made within the report, which was published in October 2023.

“The independent investigation found that, sadly, there was nothing that could have been done differently that would have saved Yusuf’s life.”

Dr Beahan added: “Yusuf was monitored during the period he waited to see a doctor.

“The CCTV footage of the period in the waiting room was considered by the investigators in the independent report.

“Yusuf was then seen by a very experienced doctor on the morning of November 16 and was given an increased dose of antibiotics.

“If an admission had been considered necessary at that point, Yusuf would have been admitted to the children’s ward.”