About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / NHS 111 Torbay Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

On Sunday evening, I called 111 in extreme pain following dental surgery under GA at Torbay Hospital on friday. The person I spoke to was not particularly sympathetic but gave me an emergency dental out of hours telephone number to call beginning with 0300. A few minutes later a different person rang me back to say the information I was given was not correct. The only way they could have had the phone number was via 111 service as I am at a friend's post-op, not my own home. The person said there is no out of hours service available for dental care, you have to just ring an 01803 number in the morning. When I rang in the morning, this number was constantly engaged and didn't open till later than advised. I then rang 111 back and said I was in so much pain and no one was helping. The person I spoke to said 'that was no one from here, there is no record of us ringing you back; there is an emergency dental service on that 0300 number' (implying I had imagined the whole thing). I drove all the way back to Kingsbrige to see my own dentist the next day (which I probably shouldn't have done as I felt so ill and had taken several strong painkillers) who could not help with my pain. By Thursday, I was so desperate I drove all the way back to Torquay and went to Torbay Hospital A&E in the evening, and was given morphine for pain and seen and treated by a maxfax specialist doctor, who I am seeing again very soon.

I have several complications from my surgery all of which need ongoing specialist treatment and are excruciatingly painful, the worst pain, in fact that I have ever experienced despite having major surgery in the past. I work in medicine and I know what I am talking about. I feel that this service was extremely poor. I was left in absolute agony for days and days by what I feel is a dreadful service, and was given the wrong information. This is compounded by suddenly no one knowing anything about my calls or having any record of it.

No one at any time said go to A&E but in the end this was what was needed and was the only remedy. I do not want this to happen again. Just because this was dental surgery doesn't mean it is not serious and extremely painful. I want to know exactly what has happened here and what is going to happen to rectify this situation please so that people get the right advice and treatment at the right time in the right place and that someone who is in extreme pain is not left to suffer by people who do not seem to care or don't know what they are talking about.


Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Dear Saba,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with our service. I hope you are recovering well.

We apologise for the delay in responding to you, however, I understand you have already been in touch with our Patient Experience Team. I hope the team have been able to resolve all your concerns regarding the care afforded to you. If you do require further information, please contact the Patient Experience Team in the first instance who will have full access to your feedback record.

Again, thank you for taking the time to offer feedback to our service.

Kind regards,


  • Saba doesn't think this response is helpful
    {{helpful}} other {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} it is helpful

Update posted by Saba (the patient)

Thank you Sara but I have not heard anything from anybody. Everyone said it was someone else's fault/problem/responsibility etc. and that someone else would respond and take action and in the end, no one has responded. This is the problem when care is so fragmented. The care I received from A&E and maxfax. was excellent and I have written to the CE to say so but everything else was either inadequate or shockingly bad. I feel sorry for patients who do not have the knowledge to know what to do....Better advice needs to be given after dental day surgery, from 111 and there needs to be better dental provision out of hours.