"NHS 24's 111 line was busy...."

About: NHS 24 / NHS 24 (111 service)

(as other),

I live and work on the South end (the Ross) of the Isle of Mull. A retail customer tripped in our parking lot and fell face first into his car (I assume this would considered a head injury? ) his teeth cut right through from the inside of his mouth to the outside of his face (below the nose). I did my best with 1st aid, offering sterile wipes and sterile dressing for the customer to self administer.

I am assuming that he would require stitches. It was outwith our normal Bunessan surgery hours, so I phoned 111 (as it was not a 'life threatening' injury as far as I could tell) the 111 line was busy, for over 10 minutes I was in the phone queue before the customer left, with his wife and children in the car, to make the 45+minute drive to the nearest A&E in Craignure Mull.

I am terribly unhappy, knowing that there was a Doctor next door to the surgery only 5 minutes away that could have properly cleaned and taken appropriate measures with the cut, but more importantly deemed the man safe to drive, after a head injury! Instead, they headed off on a 45+ minute trek on single track/ poorly maintained roads with children in the car.

I am very disappointed, and fear what may have happened after they left me.

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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

picture of Shona Lawrence

Thank you for your posting via Patient Opinion. I was very sorry to learn of the injury sustained by your customer and I appreciate that this would have been a distressing and worrying time for all. I also absolutely understand your concern in relation to the distance involved to obtain medical assistance with children in the car.

I am very sorry that you were unable to access NHS 24 on 111 due to the service being busy. This is not the experience we wish for callers to our service. We do endeavour, as much as possible, to ensure that staff levels are appropriate to match the demand on our service. However, there are occasions when the demand for our service sharply increases, which can mean that some callers are required to wait.

I can appreciate your frustration when you explain that a Doctor was in the local vicinity. However, during the Out of Hours period, calls are routed via NHS 24 to ensure that patients and callers receive appropriate advice and referral during this period. I understand that this was not your experience on this occasion.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your story. I do hope that your customer received the required care and is on the way to a full recovery. I will ensure that your story is shared with NHS 24 Senior Staff to raise their awareness of your experience.

Should you wish to discuss this further, I would be pleased to hear from you. I can be contacted on 0141 337 4582 or by email at patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

With kind regards


Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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