About: South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / NHS 111 South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust NHS 111 Lewes BN7 2XW
Posted by carmary (as ),
Recently, my son & his partner had reason to contact the 111 service during the night, for their 15mth. old child. She had been ill with an 'on going' viral infection for about a month. They needed advice & medical reassurance that there were no further complications with this child because she'd taken a "turn for the worse". An out of hours doctor was at the local hospital less their two miles from their home. Having given the 111 service the details, after the "question & answer" setup, operated by medically untrained person, [as I understand, from my own use of this service ]they were told to take this child to the A&E. 20 miles from home. Had there been someone trained to answer that call, to probe a little bit "out side" the routine questions, they may have come to the obvious conclusions that a consultation with the doctor would probably have saved the upheaval of a visit to A & E. and /or if the child needed to be seen they could have visited the doctor locally. Unfortunately because neither parent were medically trained, they didn't insist on speaking to a GP. but had they done so, then the outcome may have been different and the journey of 20miles might not have been necessary.
Ofcourse, there are many lives saved by prompt action of 111, but equally there are wasted journeys to already overrun A&E departments, which was infact the case and having seen a medic, no treatment was given & they returned home. That visit could have been done local to them.
I think the 111 service should be "managed " by registered nurses as first contact level, not by persons who read off a prepared set of questions, and that trained nurse should be able to advise or get the client a doctors consutation. immediately
How many young parents are told to 'watch & wait' when a "chat" to a GP, on call would alleviate so many anxious moments or an 'action plan' could be put in place.
Perhaps my views will be controversial but it is my opinion that parents who call the 111 service about a child should be able to speak directly to a a doctor, IF it is established at the first contact WITH A TRAINED NURSE the child doesn't require an ambulance and it's not a medical emergency.
Although the 'out of hours' service run by our local authority & GPs wasn't perfect and probably didn't suit the doctors, to me it was much more personal for the patient and in our family situation would have saved an a visit to hospital.
The 111 service may well be responsible for much of the increase in the work load in A&E departments. Perhaps the D. O. H should rethink their strategy on this.