A mum who refused to let Alder Hey Children's Hospital conduct a covid swab on her child - delaying a surgical procedure - has been slammed as "irresponsible".

The incident occurred during the second wave of the pandemic, and the patient is now set to have the operation at a later date.

According to national NHS guidance, all new patients admitted to hospital are required to be tested for covid in a bid to stem the spread of infection.

Hospitals across the region have struggled to contain hospital acquired covid infections, known as nosocomial infections, and testing was considered vital at the height of the pandemic.

Without the test Alder Hey staff told the family the procedure could not take place and would need to be re-arranged.

ECHO readers expressed disbelief at the decision, with parents of children undergoing treatment at the hospital particularly concerned.

Posting on the ECHO's Facebook page, Kimberley Lucock wrote: "My daughter has had covid swab done five times due to going into Alder Hey for procedures and admissions and yes it's not nice when the child doesn't like them but their health comes first and it take seconds to be tested.

"We got told it's because if they have covid and get put to sleep for a procedure it could cause complications."

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Lyndsey Shields wrote: "I currently have a child in here and he is tested twice weekly to keep others safe and that's the way it should be.

"He's a sick child and her refusal to allow her child to have it could put others like my son in danger."

Allison Metcalf posted: "It’s absolute stupidity on behalf of the mother. What if her child infected directly or indirectly a sick child that could not recover.

"People like her never ever think of anyone else bar themselves."

Amie De Renzy said: "Irresponsible parenting. A child's wellbeing should never come second to a parent's pride."

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"I work for the NHS and we have a duty of care to take a test before each shift starts, this is to protect our patients and our teams, we have families at home so by patients who refuse tests they are putting not only the nurse/doctors lives at risk but also the families of these."

There were, however, also a number of posters supporting the mum's decision, although several of those appeared to include reference to discredited conspiracy theories.

Sian Hamlet posted on Facebook: "Everybody has rights! So either way that’s her child and her decision!!"

Karen Williams wrote: "Well done to the child's mother for sticking to what she believes is right for HER an HER CHILD !! No one should ever be pressured or made to do something that they are uncomfortable with."

The child's mum had complained to Alder Hey's Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS), and the issue was referred to in a recent report examining PALS complaints.

According to the report the hospital has examined procedures when a patient cannot be swabbed for covid.

Staff have since undertaken a "review of process and liaised with theatres and Infection Prevention Control (IPC) team."

The report states: "Patient now offered procedure via ‘red pathway’ and communications around refusal of swab shared to enable surgery for children where swab is refused."

A spokesman for Alder Hey told the ECHO: "During this time all hospital admissions were tested for Covid-19 based on Public Health England guidance and the The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health guidance on elective surgery.

"This patient was due in for an elective procedure during the second wave of the pandemic but the parent refused a Covid swab for their child.

"As the procedure was elective and clinically non-urgent a decision was made to postpone the procedure to protect other patients, families and our staff from the risk of Covid-19.

"There would also be no harm to the patient in re-arranging at a more suitable date.

"The Trust has since reviewed this policy in line with new national guidance and have adapted it to ensure that patients can proceed with planned procedures irrespective of having; or not having had a Covid swab.

"The parent of the patient was satisfied with our response and the patient is due to have the procedure at the next available slot."