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Is "111" an embarassment to the NHS?


Surfer01
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My father has had two bad falls recently and with the last one early Tuesday morning they wanted to take him to hospital, but he refused. This morning he phoned us very early stating that he was in a lot of pain and could not get out of bed. When my wife saw him yesterday he seem to be a bit battered and bruised. He does not live in the same town as us.

Rather than phone 999 I decided to phone 111 and got put through to an operator who took down all the details. She then said she would put me through to a nurse? Anyway after hanging on for awhile I was put through to a nurse who proceeded to ask me all the questions I had answered previously. I repeat the incidents of the falls and explain what had happened. I was asked some more questions like can he get out of bed which I had already answered to the same person.

Strangely they asked me why we could not go around to attend to him and then phone from there. I am disabled and cannot get up the stairs and also have no medical knowledge. They then asked me if he has had any falls and unfortunately at that point I lost it as I had already been on the phone 20 minutes and was going nowhere.

I put the phone down after thanking them for not being able to help. I then phoned "999" and they were very prompt. They later phoned us to advise that due to irregular heartbeat they had to rush him to hospital for checks etc. Thank goodness one service is working okay.

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I wanted a doctor at 3am, phoned 111. After an age on the phone they insisted on sending an ambulance who arrived very promptly. The ambulance crew spent about half an hour with me before deciding I didn't need to go to hospital but did need extra pain relief which could only be prescribed by a doctor, so they sent for the doctor who eventually arrived about three hours after my original call.

 

My GP has now given me two doses of the stronger meds to use at my discretion rather than be in so much pain for so long whilst waiting for the doctor I'd asked for in the first place. It's as if the people setting up and running this service err on the side of 'patients know nothing about their own conditions and are unable to judge when they need medical help' rather than listening to the person who actually knows best what is happening. The vast majority do not abuse the 999 service nor accident and emergency, but it seems that there is an implicit assumption that the majority will abuse them unless they are prevented from doing so - a bit like the assumption that everyone on benefits is there by choice rather than necessity.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I wanted a doctor at 3am, phoned 111. After an age on the phone they insisted on sending an ambulance who arrived very promptly. The ambulance crew spent about half an hour with me before deciding I didn't need to go to hospital but did need extra pain relief which could only be prescribed by a doctor, so they sent for the doctor who eventually arrived about three hours after my original call.

 

My GP has now given me two doses of the stronger meds to use at my discretion rather than be in so much pain for so long whilst waiting for the doctor I'd asked for in the first place. It's as if the people setting up and running this service err on the side of 'patients know nothing about their own conditions and are unable to judge when they need medical help' rather than listening to the person who actually knows best what is happening. The vast majority do not abuse the 999 service nor accident and emergency, but it seems that there is an implicit assumption that the majority will abuse them unless they are prevented from doing so - a bit like the assumption that everyone on benefits is there by choice rather than necessity.

 

 

we all would like to think that these experiences are rare but as time passes their has been too many complaints of untrained call centre staff trying to make clinical decisions on the phone

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An update. My father was kept in hospital for a week and then transferred to a Care Home where he is at present. Next time we have a similar situation we will be phoning "999" as the service is great.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Our recent experience of the 111 'service' has left me in little doubt as to it's ineffectiveness.

 

My 83 year old father was staying with my sister as mum was in hospital following surgery and I was at my live in job caring for an elderly person with dementia so could not help. Dad became unwell displaying strange behaviour including falls, not being able to walk from his bedroom to the bathroom, not being able to follow simple, clear instructions, confusion and talking oddly. Sister rang me for advice and I said get a GP house call for him as could be a UTI or chest infection, he is frail so not able to get to walk in centre, and sister was home with 3 young children and him.

 

She rang 111, spoke to a nurse and was told a GP would attend within 2 hours. An hour and a half later a GP rang saying he understood she wanted an appointment to attend he local walk in centre; so, she repeats no and why she feels he deserved a home is it, that the nurse earlier had agreed it was appropriate in the circumstances and that she couldn't get him there. In the end he backed down and said they'd put him on the visit list and someone 'should' be out within the next 2 hours - no acknowledgement that they'd already been waiting almost 2 hours by this time.

 

Another hour plus passed and another phone call from a different GP - basically the other guy had just put dad at the end of the list of people to be called with the intention of them persuading patients to rock up at the OOH surgery in a town a twenty minute drive away!! This GP was horrified that she was the 3rd person from 111 they had spoken to and that, by this time it was well over 3 1/2 hours since my sister had rung 111 to request a call out, dad was most definitely poorly and no-one was doing anything. The lovely GP arranged to come out herself as she said dad should have been a priority for a house call let alone wait 2 hours to be seen.

 

She arrived within 3/4 hour of ringing them - remember she was based around 20 minutes drive away, had to find their house and do whatever before leaving the OOH surgery. She diagnosed a UTI with possible start of retention, gave not only a prescription but had brought a course of appropriate antibiotics with her so he had he first dose given by her! She arranged toting them back in the morning (herself) to check on him and advised that, if he didn't pass urine in the following 8 hours then he was to be taken to A&E by ambulance.

 

Thankfully he was much improved after my sister pushed fluids with him overnight and with antibiotics started. Suffice to say though, I wouldn't be trusting NHS111 service with my dad's care in future and my first port of call would be A&E with him!!

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