"We will not be using 111 again"

About: Croydon University Hospital / Accident and emergency Harmoni / NHS 111 London Ambulance Service NHS Trust

(as the patient),

I called the 111 service about two weeks ago – I’ve needed to use this service before, quite a while ago but can confidently say I will not be using it again.

I am 81 years old and my husband is 91. A couple of weeks ago my asthma flared up and I was prescribed steroids. On that particular Saturday I took all my usual medication in the morning, and later realised I had not taken the steroids – I told my husband and went to take them. In the afternoon I noticed the medication on the kitchen counter and a horrible realization came over me as it became clear I had taken five blood pressure tablets and not the steroids! In a bit of a panic I told my husband who immediate made me sit down while he called 111.

The 111 people insisted on speaking to me and went through a load of questions which I felt were not necessary and did not take account of the fact that we were both very scared. Eventually they said they would speak to a medical colleague and call me back.

20 minutes later he phoned back saying he didn’t think there was anything to panic about but he sent an ambulance round to take me to Croydon Hospital. It seemed to take forever.

The paramedics were excellent, very reassuring, made sure my husband and I were ok and took us to hospital where further tests could be done and I could be kept under observation. The staff at the hospital were brilliant – they really took excellent care of me and were able to discharge me at 3: 00 am once they were satisfied no damage had been done. Fortunately my daughter and son in law were able to take us home.

We used 111 as responsible citizens not wishing to burden the 999 service. However, there is no sense of urgency with 111 dealing with people who are extremely worried. We will not be using 111 again.

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