"Sceptical that NHS24 received an engaged tone"

About: NHS 24

(as the patient),

waited hours for a callback, one attempt was made but not long enough for me to answer, I'd gone to lie down due to worsened symptoms. I called back, reopened case, then 4. 5 hours later, allegedly a callback attempt was made to my mobile, but apparently it was engaged.

To take 50% longer than the maximum wait time is a little ignorant, I had to constantly chase the service up, so this is not acceptable. I'm sceptical that an engaged tone was received calling out to my number, as my phone was not in use at the time. I also think you try to get patients off the list at first opportunity.

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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

picture of Shona Lawrence

Dear DD420

Thank you for your feedback via Patient Opinion. I read your story with concern and I am sorry that your experience of NHS 24 on this occasion was not a positive one. I would like to offer you assurance that patient safety is our top priority here at NHS 24.

It may be helpful if I explain that when a call to NHS 24 is categorised as safe to be placed on the clinical queue to await a call back, consideration is given to the symptoms being displayed by a patient and of other factors, for example, a patient's previous medical history, age, circumstances etc. Calls placed on the clinical queue are monitored and prioritised at all times by NHS 24 Senior Clinical Staff. We do always aim to return calls to patients within the indicative time provided to them. I am sorry if we exceeded this timeframe. If upon returning a call to a patient, no reply is received, NHS 24 process is that a message is left advising further contact with NHS 24 if this is still necessary. This practice assists us in managing the volume and types of calls received by NHS 24. I do however appreciate that, as you had gone to lie down due to worsening symptoms, it would have been very frustrating for you to have missed the call back from ourselves.

I note from your posting that you made another call to NHS 24, however the further return call from ourselves received an engaged tone from your mobile phone. As all calls to and from NHS 24 are recorded, we are keen to investigate in full your contact with our service. Please do not hesitate to telephone me directly on 0141 337 4582 or by email at patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

I look forward to having the opportunity to review your contact with our service. This will assist us in establishing if there is anything which we could have done better. I wish you well and I do hope that your health has improved.

With kind regards

Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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