THE angry mother of an autistic three-year-old was left stunned when she was asked to leave her GP surgery because he suffered a “meltdown.”

Zoe Coupland, from Colchester, never takes her son Tommy to morning surgery because of his sensitivity to noise, preferring to book an appointment to see her doctor.

But after she was told there were no available appointments, she decided to take him to East Hill Surgery, Colchester, at about 8am on Tuesday.

Zoe, 22, hoped to change Tommy’s epilepsy medication and arrange for hearing tests.

She said: “I have phoned previously numerous times and explained why I cannot come to the morning surgery.

“But I have been told there are no appointments so I decided to take him along for the first time.

“It was going fairly well until he decided to take his ear defenders off.

“He seemed to be alright until a buzzer went off and sent him into a meltdown. Autistic minds work very differently, and I had to be careful he didn’t bang his head or have a fit.

“I sat with him for what felt like a lifetime but was probably only about five minutes.” Zoe says she was approached by a receptionist who asked her to leave because of the noise.

She said: “It was like I had brought a naughty child into the surgery. After I told her the situation she said to at least take him outside. It made me feel embarrassed.

“He is extremely sensitive to noise, even a toilet flushing or phone ringing can set him off. I knew a busy doctors’ surgery would be a risk.”

After leaving the surgery Zoe was approached by a nurse who apologised and secured her an afternoon appointment.

She said: “I feel like if Tommy had been in a wheelchair there wouldn’t have been a problem, but I was just seen as a young mum with a naughty child.

“I have had comments from people in the past which highlight the problems autistic parents face.”

Louise Goodwin, practice manager at East Hill Surgery, said: “All of our staff work very hard to ensure high standards of care.

“We do have a process whereby patients can comment on the service they have received.”