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"Accessing the out of hours GP service"

About: Lanarkshire Community Services / GP Out of Hours service NHS 24 / NHS 24 (111 service)

(as a service user),

As advised by the pharmacist we contacted NHS24 regarding concerns about our one year olds deteriorating condition. While waiting ninety minutes for our call to be answered was less than ideal, the call handler we dealt with was excellent. Along with a senior charge nurse they agreed that my daughter required to be at the very least spoken about with the out of hours GP. I was told we would received a call within four hours. Twenty minutes later I received a call from an unknown Unidentified staff member telling me they had reached capacity and no one would be calling me. When I asked what my options were I was told take her to A&E or call back via NHS 24 this evening or tomorrow but the situation was unlikely to change.

I am a health professional who is more than well aware of the pressures facing the NHS and have every sympathy for my colleagues but I am also the mother of a child with a new and spreading rash, reduced irons output and general malaise who to say is disgusted is the very least I can say. The decision not to even allow me to speak to a medic about my daughter seemed to be based on no clinical reasoning that I could see and I can only hope that her condition does not deteriorate further as it is clear there are no appropriate assessment or treatment options available at this time. 

As we are well aware of the strain on our NHS at this time we followed all advice in ensuring we did not place additional pressure on staff and services - we approached our local pharmacist who advised contacting NHS24 should her condition deteriorate, this we did. A&E is for emergencies and therefore not appropriate for us to take our child to - on a holiday weekend we were left with no options and no help - this is truly horrifying. Nhs advice is do not attend a and e unless an emergency yet this was the advice we received. I look forward to your reply and face an anxious night of watching our daughter to ensure we do not end up in a and e as an emergency when a simple conversation with a medic could have prevented all this.

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Responses

Response from Andrew Cassidy, Patient Experience Officer, Patient Experience, NHS 24 2 months ago
Andrew Cassidy
Patient Experience Officer, Patient Experience,
NHS 24

I manage Patient and Service User Feedback

Submitted on 29/09/2021 at 10:06
Published on Care Opinion at 10:06


picture of Andrew Cassidy

Dear Gratefuldaughter15,

Thank you for sharing your story on Care Opinion. I was sorry to read that your daughter had been unwell. I appreciate that this would have been a particularly stressful situation for you and your family, and I hope that your daughter is now recovering well.

I was sorry to read that it took so long for your call to be answered. This is not the experience we want for any of our callers. I can advise that detailed planning and forecasting is undertaken to try, as much as possible, to predict the call demand on the service at any given time to ensure our staffing levels are adequate to meet the demand.

The number of calls to NHS 24 has increased as a result of COVID-19 and there may be periods when callers are required to wait longer than we would like for their calls to be answered. In addition, we are currently asking callers a number of COVID-19 related questions to ensure any patient displaying such symptoms are managed appropriately. We are working hard in this regard to improve both our call handling/clinical processes and increase our capacity including the recruitment of a significant number of Call Handlers over the coming months. However, there are occasions when a sharp rise in call demand can impact on the time taken to access the service.

I was pleased to read that the Call Handler you spoke with was excellent, and would be happy to share your feedback with them directly. I would be grateful if you would contact me with your daughter's details - this will allow me to review your contact with NHS 24 and pass on your complimentary feedback to our Call Handler. You can contact me at patient.experience@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

I am sure my colleagues at NHS Lanarkshire will address the issues you raise regarding capacity at the Out of Hours clinic.

Once again, please accept my sincere apology that this was your experience of calling NHS 24, and thank you for sharing this valuable feedback with us.

Best wishes,

Andrew

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Response from Carmen Obre, Senior Nurse, Cambuslang/Rutherglen/ OOH, NHS Lanarkshire 2 months ago
Carmen Obre
Senior Nurse, Cambuslang/Rutherglen/ OOH,
NHS Lanarkshire
Submitted on 29/09/2021 at 11:21
Published on Care Opinion at 13:25


Dear Gratefuldaughter15,

First and foremost, I hope your daughter is recovering well.

I am really sorry to hear about your experience within our OOH service and would be keen to respond to your comments in more detail if you could provide me with additional information and your daughter’s details. I would be keen to explore some of the point you raised during the call handling process as well as the information you were provided with.

Please accept my sincere apology that this was your experience of calling NHS OOH service, and like Andrew I thank you for sharing this valuable feedback with us.

regards

Carmen

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Update posted by Gratefuldaughter15 (a service user)

Hi Andrew and Carmen

Many thanks for both your replies. Carmen if you would be able to advise as to how best to get in touch with you I would be more than happy to discuss this further

Best wishes

Jennifer

Response from Carmen Obre, Senior Nurse, Cambuslang/Rutherglen/ OOH, NHS Lanarkshire 2 months ago
Carmen Obre
Senior Nurse, Cambuslang/Rutherglen/ OOH,
NHS Lanarkshire
Submitted on 04/10/2021 at 10:33
Published on Care Opinion at 10:38


Jennifer, Thank you so much for getting in touch. I am keen to have a discussion around your experience within OOH. Please contact myself via Patient Affairs, Tel. 01698 752 800, Option 2 and/ or email PatientAffairs.PrimaryCare@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk

regards

Carmen

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Response from Andrew Cassidy, Patient Experience Officer, Patient Experience, NHS 24 2 months ago
Andrew Cassidy
Patient Experience Officer, Patient Experience,
NHS 24

I manage Patient and Service User Feedback

Submitted on 04/10/2021 at 11:12
Published on Care Opinion at 11:12


picture of Andrew Cassidy

Dear Gratefuldaughter15,

Thank you for contacting me directly and providing me with your daughter's details. This will allow me to identify the staff members involved in your daughter's care, and share your feedback with them directly. I'm sure they will be delighted to read your story.

Thank you again for sharing your story on Care Opinion.

Best wishes,

Andrew

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Response from Carmen Obre, Senior Nurse, Cambuslang/Rutherglen/ OOH, NHS Lanarkshire last month
Carmen Obre
Senior Nurse, Cambuslang/Rutherglen/ OOH,
NHS Lanarkshire
Submitted on 22/10/2021 at 14:13
Published on Care Opinion at 14:55


Jennifer,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience within OOH. Valerie has shared your feedback with myself and we will certainly explore how we can improve our service.

If you have any further areas you would like to discuss you can contact myself directly on

carmen.obre@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk

Please accept again my sincere apology that this was your experience of calling our OOH service.

best wishes

Carmen

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