A hospital has apologised to parents of a nine-year-old boy after it took multiple visits for him to be diagnosed with brain cancer.

Ben Simpson, of Millfield Cottages in Orpington, was eventually diagnosed with grade four medulloblastoma five months ago.

His family are now raising money for him to receive Proton Beam Therapy, which is not available in the UK until later this year.

Ben's dad Lee Almond told News Shopper: "He knows something is going on. I don't want to tell him what it is. It is enough to scare an adult.

"I told him that everyone has fluid in their head and he has a little too much and has to get it drained."

Lee believes a lot of what Ben has endured could have been avoided if the Princess Royal University Hospital had diagnosed his son quicker.

He said: "It was August when he started getting sick in the mornings. At first we put it down to a sickness bug. Then we noticed if he had something to eat, he would get sick within five seconds.

"He lost weight rapidly and went to about five or six stone.

"Even if he laid down to go to sleep he would get sick. We went back to hospital and they put it down to his partial seizures because he has epilepsy. We were sent for an ECG but that won't pick anything up in the brain.

"The day we found out - Ben's grandad begged the hospital not to send him home yet again. He demanded a second opinion, they then sent us to Kings College and the next day he had an operation to stop the pressure in his head.

"How come it got to stage where the tumour was the size of a tangerine and was so big it had to be operated on? Now he has a big scar on the top of his head."

Responding to this, a spokesman for King's College NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the Prince Royal University Hospital - said: "Brain tumours in children are incredibly rare and often very difficult to detect. The symptoms can sometimes be similar to less serious conditions. In this case, the patient’s existing medical condition - as well as the medication prescribed to treat it - may have made detection more difficult.

"We are sorry that it took four visits to our Emergency Department before a diagnosis was confirmed and Ben was subsequently treated. Since then we have been in contact with the patient’s family to give our apologies.

"We have offered to meet them to apologise in person and learn what we can from this."

Lee said he does not accept any apology from the hospital.

He said: "When they put it down to epilepsy they should have done follow-ups because a quick Google search tells you that tumours have long been associated with epilepsy."

Ben underwent a 13 hour operation to remove the tumour.

However, if he doesn't have the Proton Beam Therapy, Lee said the chances are a secondary tumour will return aggressively.

Ben's family have raised over £11,000 so he can get Proton Beam Therapy abroad. They are targeting £100,000.

You can donate here.