"I’ve told lots of people not to bother using this service."

About: South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / NHS 111

(as a service user),

I called the 111 service for my husband who is in his 80s, is diabetic and, at the time, was recovering from a chest infection.

The operator went through a list of questions for about half an hour – I felt many of these were not relevant and would not have been necessary if the operator was medically qualified.

At the end of these questions the operator informed me that a doctor would call me in 2-3 hours.

I had explained my husband is diabetic, he had taken his medication and was being sick – I was very concerned about a possible diabetic coma, I really could not wait 2-3 hours for someone to call me back, then to possibly wait for more time for someone to come and see to my husband.

I ended the call and phoned for an ambulance. I really did not want to do this as their resources are already stretched but I did not feel I had an alternative. The ambulance arrived between 6-10 minutes later, the crew stayed with my husband for about an hour, making sure he was not being sick and his sugar levels were ok before they left.

I have nothing but praise for the ambulance service and the crew that came to see my husband.

However, I am very unhappy with the 111 service – I would have expected a trained doctor or nurse to advise me immediately, not to have to wait for someone to call me back. I’ve told lots of people not to bother using this service.

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Response from Sara Coburn, Patient Engagement Manager, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust

Hello Echo434

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I apologise for the delay in responding to you.

Please accept our apologies for any distress or anxiety that may have occurred as a result of this incident. I hope that your husband is recovering well.

It is difficult to provide you with a full response to your concerns without being able to review the details of your call. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further; may I please ask you to contact the Patient Experience Team on 01392 251585 or email makingexperiencescount@swast.nhs.uk in the first instance who will be pleased to assist you.

Kind regards


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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