OPINION: Personal experience of poor 111 service

What has your experience been of the NHS 111 service? Let us know
What has your experience been of the NHS 111 service? Let us know

My personal experience with the NHS non-emergency 111 telephone number seems to mirror what has been going on across the county.

Having been drilled not to just turn up at a hospital accident and emergency department, when my four-year-old daughter needed medical attention I called 111.

After several minutes the call was answered and I gave a description of my concerns.

I was informed that a doctor would call me back, so I waited.

And waited. And waited.

I called back to find out when I could expect a call, and was told that it would be soon.

In the meantime, I decided to take my daughter to KGH’s accident and emergency department.

Her condition was far from life-threatening, but I was not prepared to wait for an unspecified period of time only to be told to attend a surgery and GP, who was then likely to send us to casualty anyway.

We did eventually get a call back from the 111 service, but we had made our decision by then.

Our experience is by no means unique and by no means the worst example I have heard.

The service simply needs to improve, and now.

Not only would it ease the concerns of patients, but it would also ease the pressure on already over-stretched accident and emergency departments at our local hospitals.

Neil Pickford, Editor