"111 'advice' that was insensitive and unhelpful"

About: Royal Preston Hospital

My 18 year old daughter was badly sunburned on Tuesday. She hadn't used a high enough SPF sunscreen and recognises this. She was in such pain, despite painkillers, lukewarm baths and plenty of aftersun that she rang 111 for advice. The person taking the call was helpful and spoke clearly and in language that was not open to misinterpretation. However, the clinician that my daughter spoke to was very quietly spoken - she had to ask them to repeat things quite often. My daughter is on medication for anxiety and depression, which the clinician knew. This knowledge didn't stop them from having a go at her for not understanding medical terminology. They asked if my daughter thought she might collapse. Because she can barely stand, let alone walk, and is gasping with the pain, she said yes. The clinician derided her reply and told her "Now, you need to learn the difference between collapse and just not being able to walk far, don't you?" This was patronising, disrespectful and a judgement delivered without any physical evidence to back up the opinion. It sounded to me like they had a pre-formed opinion that my daughter was a silly teenager who deserved what she got. It had taken a lot for my daughter to make the call in the first place, given her anxiety and level of pain. This clinician left her in floods of tears, undermining her confidence further and making her 'feel an idiot' in her words, because she hadn't understood what this person was saying. I spent over thirty years working for the NHS and my daughter has been brought up to recognise the great good it does and its principals of fairness and respect. She knows that staff are hard-pressed, but good manners cost nothing and clearer questioning would have resulted in a better consultation. From what the clinician said, they are based at Royal Preston Hospital, hence my providing feedback on this page. I don't want my name to appear on this review, since I don't want the possibility of any future visits to the hospital being coloured by my opinions here.

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Response from Rhona Hartley, Head of Patient Experience and Customer Care, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. Though the 111 service is housed at the Royal Preston Hospital, it is run by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). I have forwarded your feedback to the relevant manager for information.

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Response from Royal Preston Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. We were sorry to hear of your daughter's experience as it is not the way we would want any of our patients to be treated. Please be assured that your comments have been shared with senior staff in the Emergency Department. However, should you or your daughter feel it would be helpful to discuss the concerns raised in further detail, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer CAre Department on 01772 522521.

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