To think NHS 111 is a fucking joke?

(133 Posts)
NillyNolly Sat 30-Mar-13 07:59:26

I have had the misfortune of experiencing the new NHS 111 service three times in the last week. One of my DC has a compromised immune system so often need out of hours appointments.

Before the 111 service I could call our local out of hours service who would answer straight away, listen to a brief description of symptoms, then make a doctors appointment or get a nurse to call us back. Simple.

With 111 I have waited an average of 20 mins for someone to pick up each time, had to go through all mine and my DS's details about 3 times, then had to answer a series of questions which takes a further 10 minutes ("is he breathing?" ..... Ummm, do you not think I would have perhaps called an ambulance by now if he wasn't....?)

I am so angry and frustrated with this new phone line!!! angry !!!!

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 08:02:18

Oh dear. I did read somewhere that people thought it shouldn't be rolled out yet. Is OOH not an option any more for you?

NillyNolly Sat 30-Mar-13 08:04:01

No, the number just has a message telling you to call 111. I even tried to get put through to the hospital OOH directly but they said I needed to book via 111. I have spent almost 40 mins on the phone to them this morning, it would have taken less than 5 with the old system.

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sat 30-Mar-13 08:05:06

All calls to OOHs in our area are being triaged through 111 - it is not going well. Patients report long waits, not being able to get through at all and being cut-off.

wonkylegs Sat 30-Mar-13 08:05:26

Can you not still phone the OOH as that's what the guidance still indicates, that 111 is an alternative rather than a replacement.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 08:06:34

Oh no. sad I started a thread yesterday about GPs not being open on Good Friday (got a bit of grief over it) but many on there said we have OOH so stop complaining. Seems maybe we don't.

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 08:07:02

Personally I think YABU, ifnitnwasnlifenthreaning you'd have called a ambulance and believed it or not, some people do cal 911, if someone is having a asthma attack, chocking etc...

They ask these questions to pritiories those needing medical attention, I am assuming your child wasn't in urgent need for medical attention and would be ok to be seen within the next 24 hours, as if not yous have taken then to hospital.

I called 111 last month, thought I had slapped cheek, was picked up from my house, seen by the dr, was given medication and dropped off at my house again all within a hour (give or take)

Just because you may not think the questions are important does not mean they aren't important to someone else, who needed the apt before you, or did need emergency medical attention

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 08:08:42

911.... 111 that's supposed to be

toboldlygo Sat 30-Mar-13 08:09:59

I work for an OOH GP service. 111 only lasted two days in our area before they begged us to take the service back for another month because they couldn't cope. It's an absolute farce. Patients have dangerously long waits, A&E visits and 999 calls increase hugely under their system.

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 08:10:32

I don't think 20 minutes to pick up the phone is reasonable, and if you have a child with a compromised immune system which is a constant worry it adds to the stress.

janey223 Sat 30-Mar-13 08:13:18

It's awful! DS was extremely poorly with tummy bug, called them on Saturday and was told to get docs appointment on Monday, DS was extremely dehydrated with low blood sugar.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Sat 30-Mar-13 08:14:04

I called a couple of months ago after dh had collapsed indoors.

I spent 15 minutes giving our details to someone, her computer crashed and then i had to do it all again to someone else, not her fault i know but she did say it always happens

Then had to answer stupid questions like, what ethnicity he is, what the fuck difference does it make it he is black, white or sky blue pink.

They have this stupid list of questions that they have to ask angry

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 08:16:27

Just checked our GPs website. Looks like we can have OOH or 111 at the moment.

StayAwayFromTheEdge Sat 30-Mar-13 08:21:20

It depends where you are at the moment - be grateful for OOH triage while you still have it!

Sparklingbrook Sat 30-Mar-13 08:22:40

<worries>

theodorakisses Sat 30-Mar-13 08:30:15

Looking back at the NHS after many years abroad (and 10 years previous NHS service which ended in bullying after whistleblowing) I cannot understand why people tolerate the way they are treated. No other health system (and the NHS is not unique in its model) would treat people this way and employ people so thick they depend on a computer to triage people and ask moronic questions.
It is one of the main reasons i couldn't live there again.

Kveta Sat 30-Mar-13 08:31:35

it's atrocious - when I had a chest infection and UTI following 'flu, 111 triaged me and said it was 'just 'flu' and to rest. Finally got to my own GP who told me I should have been seen sooner, and got me on ABs.

I want to call NHSDirect for advice on DD's chickenpox (she is too young for most OTC drugs, and very poorly), but we can't call any more, it has to be the rigmarole of 111, so I'm about to start a thread on MN instead hmm

PinkPepper Sat 30-Mar-13 08:39:22

I had a great experience. My son had an allergic reaction to egg, it was mild but pfb I didn't know if I should worry/get him checked out anyway.
Someone answered phone within 10mins, went through the serious questions, reassured us it wasn't serious serious emergency, said a nurse would call us within an hour.
Nurse rang within a further 10mins and spent ages reassuring us on phone (by this time his reaction had faded) and told us what to do in other cases.

For me it was exactly what I needed anyway.

I'm sorry other people haven't found the same sad

Atleast NHS direct got my children what they needed and always phoned back. On so many occasions it saved hospital/doctors time and probably money as well as simple stuff like a bang to the head or chicken pox, i was reassured if my dc needed medical attention or not. With this new system, i can see people just panicking and rushing to A&E.
I thought they weren't rolling this nonsense out yet due to there being so many flaws? confused

No - it's bloody ridiculous.

Had to take DS2 to OOH in an area where 111 isn't rolled out yet because it IS active in our area. So we phoned them, got sorted with an appointment 15 minutes later (and even then she was giving us the 10 minute chat about things to watch out for, even though we were on the way to the GP and it was delaying us)

We got to the OOH and we were told we had a 2 hour wait at least. We said we had booked an appointment - impossible, apparently, as they don't have appointments. Due to the fact 111 isn't in this area, all appointments on their system were free - because they weren't using them.

After waiting over an hour, in which time they saw 3 people (and we still had 5 ahead of us) we gave up and went back to get DS to bed.

Sirzy Sat 30-Mar-13 08:55:39

seems like this system is as bas as NHS direct then!

There again given OOH always refuse to see DS can't make things any worse for him!

nextphase Sat 30-Mar-13 08:57:17

We had a fiasco with 111.
Diaed NHS direct, which when through all our details, and then got told we were out of area, and to call 111.
Called 111, had to go through all our details, and then got told to go to a ooh GP 40 miles away. Objected, and said I wanted to go to local town X. Got told to rig NHS direct. went round in circles til someone understood I wanted to travel 5 miles, not 40.. Took about an hour of back and forth.
Whole system needs sorting.

That said, I rang 101 for the police the other day, as the wind had blown the barriers into the road. When I went back, they had moved them- took them less than 30 mins

Meglet Sat 30-Mar-13 09:06:42

I've never had a problem with NHS direct. They've always called us back within a few minutes OR popped us straight through to an OOH GP. If we need to see the GP we're at the clinic within the hour. OOH was invaluable when they had dreadful chicken pox and needed to be seen on a saturday at 10pm.

I really don't like the sound of 111 at all.

x2boys Sat 30-Mar-13 09:15:56

so is 111 worse than nhs direct because frankley i thought they were pretty useless everytime i phoned them they told me to go to Aand E even if it was just for aminor ailment so I just cut out the middle man and went to A and E myself and have you ever triedto get an emergency dentist through NHS direct what arigmorle you have to phone them and wait about 3 hrs foe a nurse to phone you back WTF a nurse would know about dental pain i have no idea than they give you an appointment!

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 09:19:13

Well Mimsy, you clearly didn't need OOH if he could have just went to bed!

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 09:22:38

X2boys, personally I think they are 100% better.

I thought I had slapped cheek, my temp was 41, and I could not get it down, I'd just recoved from double pneumonia, and my chest felt weird, and I could swallow without huge pain (thread here somewhere about it)

I phoned what I thought was thend system, and was told I had to phone 111.

Within 1 hour (give or take) I was assessed, picked up and dropped off at my home and prescription given.

Hawkmoth Sat 30-Mar-13 09:26:18

It lasted one day round here. Would advise trying the OOH number, there are not many places willing to risk the new system over the Easter weekend.

x2boys Sat 30-Mar-13 09:34:11

well you obviously got good service altinkum but NHS Direct once insisted on snding an ambulance all blues and twos for my DH who a severe migraine!

x2boys Sat 30-Mar-13 09:35:09

who had that is

Binkybix Sat 30-Mar-13 09:39:04

There seems to be a section on the NHS choices website that shows how to give feedback on the service you've received. Worth doing that?

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 09:42:26

Well I see there point there tbh, dh uncle, thought hebhasbare acute migraine, turned out he had a brain aneurysm. 4 surgeries later and he's still not out of surgery.

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 09:42:49

*hospital

x2boys Sat 30-Mar-13 09:44:12

sorry altinkum i misread your post i thought you were saying nhs direct were a lot better than 111 not the other way round well i hopr they are cos you cantget much worse than nhs direct!

Softlysoftly Sat 30-Mar-13 09:44:40

Sat reading and thanking my lucky stars yet again for having a gp for a sister in law. Sounds a nightmare.

Also what's the difference between 111 and nhs direct confused

theodorakisses Sat 30-Mar-13 09:45:40

I would never be satisfied with being assessed and treated by a nurse and would certainly not trust them with children. I did the nurse degree and the practitioner training and they were moronic and there is little that they can offer that can't be found out by googling. Why can't doctors see people anymore?

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 09:46:53

Nothing I don't think softly just supposed to be a new improved service, which for me it is.

X2boys, tbh I didn't use nhs direct, so I couldn't compare them, but I do rate 111 from my experience.

phantomhairpuller Sat 30-Mar-13 09:47:42

I've just been 'in a queue' with them for the last 15 minutes so have given up. Absolute crap angry

I haven't used 111 but I have used that harmoni ooh service. Now that's a joke. Told by nhs direct to get straight down there even though our appointment wasn't for a few hours. Lovely lady said shed phone ahead and say we were coming down and try to get us seen much sooner. Say in the virtually empty waiting room for two hours being ignored, receptionist constantly telling us we were next then denying she had said it. Ended up giving up completely walking round the corner to A&E who triaged and admitted instantly and gave her a nebuliser. Will never use again!!

creamteas Sat 30-Mar-13 09:48:46

As I understand it the 111 system went out to tender and is being operated by different people in different parts of the country.

In many areas it is staffed by non-clinically trained call centre workers. They have no option but to follow the questions on the screen, and if you give an answer which isn't an option they don't know what to do (this happened to us).

Where I live, very few people get through to the OOH service anymore, and everyone is now turning up at A&E because they are desperate. Recently the ambulances were waiting for hours at our local hospital as they could not fit any more people in angry

It is a complete shambles......

Hawkmoth Sat 30-Mar-13 09:49:17

NHSD is nurse led with clinical triage, 111 uses a non-clinical computer system staffed by non-clinicians which leads you to either advice or referral to another service, like OOH, nurse advice, taking paracetamol, A&E or your own GP in a week. There are lots of different end points.

Some areas have had 111 for a while and it's quite bedded in, others started last week, albeit briefly in some cases.

111 does tend to be more risk averse than NHSD, which is why there are the headlines about people getting 999 for hiccups etc.

creamteas Sat 30-Mar-13 09:49:58

softly NHS direct and OOH service are being merged into 111

Welovegrapes Sat 30-Mar-13 09:54:10

Altinkum your post is hilarious.

First you say 111 is 100% improved, then you say you never actually used NHS direct? hmm

x2boys Sat 30-Mar-13 09:57:18

no i agree ooh often use nurse not dr,s and with all due respect [ and i.m a registered nurse] i think patients should always be seen by a dr when my son had a severe chest infection just before xmas a couple of years ago we couldnt get a dr,s apointment for love nor money and they kept directing us to ooh promising he would be seen by a dr, he never was and just because his symptons did nt tick all her little boxes she would nt prescribe antibiotics when we eventually saw our gp he put him on antibiotics straight away and guess what he was fine in a couple of days i think ooh actually hindered his recovery.

Methe Sat 30-Mar-13 10:09:35

Nhsd and 111 use exactly the same system, same computer program's and the same staff in the same buildings. If you get told to ring 111 as your out of area you might ring back in and get someone who's sat a desk away from the person you spoke to originally.

People really do ring Nhsd/111 for, what you it I might think are obviously, heart attacks, strokes, life threatening breathing difficulties, unconscious babies, and conversely splinters, blackheads, genital warts and the fact that they've eaten a yoghert a day past its sell by date. People can be really thick but you have to remember that a person ringing in with a husband with chushing chest pains, radiating arm pain, breathlessness, vomiting is fucking terrified and not thinking straight. That is ok.

Personally I can't see what was wrong with nhs direct.

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 10:30:13

I've never used it, my dh and sister have, I can have a opinion on something without ever experiencing it first hand, shockingly!!

I'm glad you find it hilarious, personally I think you humour is shocking, I'd rather leave humour of things that are funny, not when people need and seek medical attention!!!

slategrayticktock Sat 30-Mar-13 10:35:52

We have had NHS 111 for a little while here. I've not had any problems. The last 4 time I phoned Someone answered the phone within minutes and three times we have had an appointment. (One was for 3hours later but the OOH DR wouldn't see me as my health problem was too severe for him (rare brain disorder) but he phoned up and arranged A&E to see me, another was for 3hours later at A&E with 2 week old DD2 but the OOH DR brought it forward, the third was within 1hour for DD1). The other time we phoned we were told we had to see our GP withing 24 hours and if we couldn't get in to see a GP they would arrange an appointment for us.

We had loads of problems with NHS Direct. So did a lot of people who I have spoke with.

Welovegrapes Sat 30-Mar-13 10:37:12

Altinkum the reason I thought it was funny is that all over the country, people are having real problems with this service. This is a major issue.

You blithely come on and say ooh no, it's 100% better ... But I never actually used the old service..

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 10:44:43

And your point being...

My neice when about 2 had a tempature and was currently on anti b, they said she was fine just keep giving her pain meds to control temp, turned out she had bronchitis, clearly they can't diagnose over the phone but she needed medical attention, and they just told her to sit still, a few hours later they had to call a ambulance.

Ds had banged his head and they told him to keep him awake, even tho it was way past his bedtime, the advice was outdated, we allowed him to sleep with us.

Unless you just want all the experiences to be bad, my "experience of nhs d to that of 111 is 100% better.

I'm not, by going to give my opinion on my experience of 111 just because their is some people who have disliked the waiting times or the service.

The service and experience I got from this service was first class!

Neighbourhoodwatchbitch Sat 30-Mar-13 10:56:42

It's all going to be 111. Nhs direct was turned off in bucks this week. I work in a hospital... And can say 111 is a complete farce. Paramedics are not happy at all with it!

neighbour I'm bucks- is that true? Is it gone? It's 111 only???

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 30-Mar-13 11:06:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 11:13:11

Its a new service so I would well imagine there will be teething problems.

From what I can see on this thread is that people have issues with the response time, tbh I do see a problem with a 30+ waiting time, after all it is a non medical emergency number, this co exists with OOH, and walk in centres, and during times GP surgeries. That is so much more than most countries have.

I agree, neighbourhood, I'm more intreasted in how by affects the emergency services, to someone who is complaining about a service who helps us just because they have to answer question or be on the phone a hour, if as I said it was a emergency then A&E is your next step or call for a ambulance if needed, surely thisbisnall common sense.

This country and many people in it, want everything NOW, and that's where the problem lays!

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 11:13:51

Don't see a problem with 30+!min waiting time...

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Sat 30-Mar-13 11:17:31

YANBU. I called for my 10mth old ds a couple of nights ago around 2am because he had been screaming for over an hour, his breathing was raggy and because we've had a problem with leaking drains at home (long, long story!) I was panicking that he'd been exposed to something nasty. They told me it sounded like he needed to be seen by a GP in the next couple of hours and that someone would call back to schedule an appointment. Did we hear from them? Did we buggery. Thankfully ds settled with cuddles and his temperature came back down to normal after a dose of Calprofen, but I am still furious that the callback never happened.

blondieminx Sat 30-Mar-13 11:19:23

Tbh this is all the thin end of the wedge. The cuts and privatising of our NHS is only just beginning.

Rather than using NHS feedback stuff you all need to put your complaints in writing to your MP find their contact details here and to local newspapers.

We should be making a lot of noise about this...

toboldlygo Sat 30-Mar-13 11:34:46

The problem with the 30 minute+ waiting time is that, despite first having to listen to messages like "if you're calling about a life-threatening emergency, hang up now and dial 999" we still get a small but significant number of callers who are experiencing things like heart attacks and strokes. Usually it's elderly people who 'just don't want to be a bother, but I've got this beastly crushing pain in my chest...' who have called their GP practice number and been redirected to the OOH service.

The OOH I work for (a non-profit GP co-operative) picks up in less than five minutes - calls like the above are passed straight to the ambulance service, urgent calls marked as such and triaged by a doctor within 20 minutes, routine calls dealt with within one hour. Even the splinters and stubbed toes.

111 could take anything up to 24 hours to do the same (their callback options include a mind boggling 24 hour response as well as 2/4/6 hours) and if they decide that the patient needs to be seen in person by a doctor, after sitting on the call for four or six hours, they bloody well redirect it to us to send one of our local GPs out anyway. We could have dealt with it hours before. The problem being, of course, that most people won't wait for 111 to pull their finger out and will either call 999 or contribute to the eight hour wait in A&E that happened a couple of weeks ago in one of our local hospitals.

toboldlygo Sat 30-Mar-13 11:38:05

And, of course, a significant number of OOH provider staff have been made redundant as a result of 111, who seem to have recruited the most brainless examples of call centre staff they could find and not enough of them anyway.

nicelyneurotic Sat 30-Mar-13 11:43:41

I had the misfortune of using this today. A woman mumbled her way through a script. Losing her place and asking the same question two or three times. It was clear she hadn't listened to a thing I had said at the start and then proceeded to read out medical advice for babies aged under 12 weeks. I reminded her my baby was four months, but she said she had to read it out anyway. Wasted about an hour of my time.

In the end I was put through to a nurse, then called back by a doctor who said I could go to a medical centre without an appointment and sit and wait, which I could have done to start with. While I was on the phone my husband went to a pharmacy and got much better advice.

nicelyneurotic Sat 30-Mar-13 11:48:14

Toboldlygo - brainless call centre staff is exactly what I experienced. I dread to think of the harm this line will cause.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hawkmoth Sat 30-Mar-13 11:59:39

This was not the public launch. GPs just changed the message on their answering machines and NHS Direct had an automated message in the affected areas telling people to dial 111 instead.

CandidaDoyle Sat 30-Mar-13 13:10:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Altinkum Sat 30-Mar-13 15:45:17

Annie, in that case for palative care why wouldn't the 24/7 emergency duty care team not be called out?

ivykaty44 Sat 30-Mar-13 15:51:01

shock picked up from your house and taken back again! wow

last time I had ooh doctor I had to get both dc up and drive there myself - this sounds a good service if they pick you up

Meerkatwhiskers Sat 30-Mar-13 17:24:24

I'm a student nurse and on placement in a&e at the moment. Was chatting to sine paramedics last night. I'm in the south east and in our area 111 is run by the ambulance trust with ex NHS direct telephone operators.

They said the way the questions are worded mean that most of the time an ambulance ends up being despatched and their call out rate has gone up threefold. A third of the 111 patients they see so not need to go to hospital and just need to see a GP so they are wasted callouts. We only saw 1 patient admitted from the service last night (although it was a very quiet night). And that was with an asthma attack which she would have been very justified calling 999 for.

Meerkatwhiskers Sat 30-Mar-13 17:26:03

*some. iPad gremlins dammit.

WhoWhatWhereWhen Sat 30-Mar-13 17:37:40

Just another money saving exercise that has fucked the system up, the computer system simply doesn't work and calls aren't handled quick enough

bigbluebus Sat 30-Mar-13 17:56:57

111 failed in my area, after 2 days, and calls have reverted back to the OOH service "for the forseeable future". I was dreading the implementation of 111 as my DD has severe learning disability and complex health needs. She cannot talk or indicate where she is in pain - I just know when she is in pain and have to guess what might be wrong. SHe can go downhill very quickly. No computerised system in the land is going to triage my DD effectively.

We used to have open access to local hospital childrens ward, so if I knew there was something significant wrong I could just take her straight there. Now she is 18, so we are beholden to the OOH/111/NHS direct (whatever happens to be in place at the time.) I seriously fear it may be the death of her. We have already had one foray to A&E since she was 18 (as it was the only option - GP actually told us to go there). We went at 9.00am on a Wednesday morning - I thought it would be quiet. It was full by 11.00am and we breached their 4 hr target!
The NHS is in meltdown.

captainbarnacle Sat 30-Mar-13 18:02:23

Me: I've been told by the dental services to ring NHS direct to find out the specific phone number of an appointment only specialist paediatric dentist for ds1. It's not googleable and I've lost the appointment card.
NHSDirect: is he with you?
Me: no, he's at school
NHS: is he breathing?
Me: he's at school. I just need to see if you have the number on the database
NHS: what postcode is the address he is currently at?
Me: I don't know, it's just down the road.
NHS: I need the postcode
Me: errr... Just say he's here. Now, the phone number.....
NHS: I can't say he's with you, you just told me he's at school. What's his date of birth? His GP? His ethnicity?
Me: good grief. It doesn't matter. Are you able to provide me with any information?
NHS: no.
<puts phone down>

Iwantmybed Sat 30-Mar-13 20:00:47

DH phoned 111 about our DD 6mo who woke with breathing difficulties completely out of the blue on Thurs night. I wanted to take her to A&E as her airway wasn't clear. They told us a GP would call us back within a few hrs. Thankfully she calmed down and could sleep but I had her in with me just in case. We had no call back. sad I'm not particularly impressed by this service.

girliefriend Sat 30-Mar-13 20:21:46

This new service really depresses me I am a community nurse and have heard nothing but bad experiences reported from the patients. Totally 100% agree with Annies comment re palliative patients, I realised as well that if a patient passed away (expectedly) and needed a Dr to come and verify death their poor family would have the added stress of having to go through 111 angry

We had a good system in my area up until now and once again it feels like something is being 'fixed' that wasn't broken.

Gossipmonster Sat 30-Mar-13 20:59:17

I have been waiting for 8 minutes now for someone to answer the FUCKING PHONE!!!!!

BeaWheesht Sat 30-Mar-13 21:04:51

Haven't read the whole thread but it sounds exactly like what we've had in Scotland for ages?

gaelicsheep Sat 30-Mar-13 21:08:08

What was NHS Direct then if not this? Apart from the out of hours things, which as BeaWheesht says has been common in Scotland for years as part of NHS24. I won't say I've always been thrilled by that, but wasn't thrilled by English out of hours services either. Is NHS 111 just for out of hours care, or is it replacing NHS Direct?

Sunnywithshowers Sat 30-Mar-13 21:22:20

111 sounds bloody awful. I had a good service from NHS Direct; they even sent an ambulance round when I had a huge asthma attack.

Plomino Sat 30-Mar-13 21:28:09

Another crap service sufferer here . DD 1 had a middle of the night temperature of nearly 40 , and started becoming distressed and rambling . DH rang me at work , and I started coming home . It takes me about 90 mins to get home in the early hours ( albeit travelling a bit quick). He'd rung 111 straight after he'd rung me . As I walked through the front door , he was still waiting for a response . We ended up going to a and e .

BakeOLiteGirl Sat 30-Mar-13 21:40:34

NHS111 is total crap. Used it a few times the last couple of weeks. Used to be able to call out of hours dr who would either advise over phone or book an appointment. Now they keep telling me to take my child to the nearest hospital in the next four hours. For th

BakeOLiteGirl Sat 30-Mar-13 21:43:21

NHS111 is total crap. Used it a few times the last couple of weeks. Used to be able to call out of hours dr who would either advise over phone or book an appointment. Now they keep telling me to take my child to the nearest hospital in the next four hours. It's just not always necessary to clogg up the hospital with minor/but dr advice needed issues.

BakeOLiteGirl Sat 30-Mar-13 21:44:25

Obviously I mean a doctor not a time lord. Reads a bit wrong.

girliefriend Sat 30-Mar-13 21:48:39

Can everyone who has had a bad experience please please complain.

Complain to PALS, your G.P surgery, your local healthcare trust, even the local press - basically anyone as the more people complain about this the more they will have to do something about it.

Tigerbomb Sat 30-Mar-13 22:20:37

My mom is still waiting a call back from 111 after she phoned them 4 days ago

Kiriwawa Sat 30-Mar-13 22:23:14

Just to add to girlefriend's voice smile

And 111 is not the same as NHS Direct - there were nurses on the other end of the phone there. 111 is staffed by people who have been trained in what they call the algorithm (what the rest of the world would call a decision tree) BUT HAVE NO MEDICAL TRAINING.

WreckfestAtTiffanys Sat 30-Mar-13 22:53:42

I am a paramedic and from my ambulance service's pov it has been dreadful.

Calls increase massively when 111 is active, we have been stacking calls and queueing for hours at hospitals.

There were always the odd inappropriate calls from NHS Direct, but with 111 it seems to be multiple daily inappropriate 999s, and they can't be reassigned by our control (who have far more knowledge and experience), they have to be attended as a 999 even if they are obviously not an emergency.

It is driving the service and A&Es to breaking point.

MrsRogerSterling Sat 30-Mar-13 22:58:43

I called 111 tonight at 6.30pm, phone was answered in seconds and a man took all my info and said he would arrange an appointment at the out of hours surgery for my daughter. We had a call back with 30 mins and an appointment at 9.20 this evening. All good. Only confusing thing was between speaking to the man at 111 and the receptioninst at the ooh surgery with my appointment we had 2 other people call and ask me the same questions the man at 111 asked! We are now home and in possession of medicine for dd2 so as far as I'm concerned it was great.

I called them this morning for my perforated eardrum - called at 06:30ish, they referred me to OoH Doc who they said would call to book an apt within an hour. Call never came, so I rang 111 again at 8ish, and apparently the original info got lost on their system and never made it to the OoH service. They kept me on hold for 25 mins while they tried myriad numbers to get thru to OoH themselves, then gave the details verbally over the phone. That time it worked, and I got a callback from OoH within 10 mins, appointment at 11:20 - done.

I really don't see why this is a better service than calling OoH directly myself. 111 just isn't ready, their computer system can't cope.

purplewithred Sun 31-Mar-13 00:48:00

In the olden days if you wanted advice out of hours but didn't think you needed 999 then you had to choose between NHS direct and your OOH service. Unfortunately lots of people made the wrong choice and had to be redirected and start all over again, and whoever they phoned next would want to ask a bunch of different questions and maybe give contrary advice, or they got an ambulance but didn't need it, etc etc.

The theory behind 111 is that a) you don't have to choose between NHS Direct and OOH doctor and b) it uses the same triage system as 999. So the plan was for a seamless, smooth system that ensured people got the right kind of attention more often and more quickly - if you call 111 and Computer Says you need an ambulance then ambulance control won't have to ask you a bunch of new questions. If you call 111 and need OOH then they can sort out an appointment without you having to call OOH.

That's the theory.

Wingedharpy Sun 31-Mar-13 02:33:41

Well it should be fun (not) on Monday when 111 goes live for the whole of England.
Up to now it's just been functioning in specific areas in order to pilot it and iron out the problems - only all the problems haven't been ironed out so God knows what will happen.
Whoever made the decision to go live with this on Easter Monday should be shot.
The Easter hols are one of the busiest (if not THE busiest) times of the year for the GP OOH service.
I predict chaos and bedlam.

Darkesteyes Sun 31-Mar-13 02:41:13

This goes live on Easter Monday????? How fucking stupid is that.

Wingedharpy Sun 31-Mar-13 03:04:46

Surely it can't have anything to do with the new financial year - can it?

80sMum Sun 31-Mar-13 03:10:52

When my DCs were little, the OOH service was provided by the GPs from the practice, who were on call on a rota basis. Back then, most people I knew had never used the service and I only used it once. Nobody wanted to call out a GP in the middle of the night unless absolutely necessary. I followed the advice given by Penelope Leach, which said that you should only consider calling the on-call Dr if the problem was such that if the OOH Dr service didn't exist you would take the child to A&E.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sun 31-Mar-13 03:54:53

I called 111 tonight and was impressed with the service and the speed in which the OOH doctor called (about 15 mins I think). However, I also called NHSD last spring for DS and they were great too so not sure, but have my suspicions, why they have changed it.

VicsterB Sun 31-Mar-13 13:41:18

I called 111 last Friday and was in a queue for maybe 5 minutes before I got through. My main hope is that they sort out the queuing system. Useful to have an estimated time till answer or an option to be called back when you're at the front of the queue. Anyway the service seemed pretty similar to NHSDirect once I did get through. I would imagine they would have the same model for service. Perhaps slightly less compassion from the person I spoke to, compared with my memories of NHSDirect, but I guess they're under stress with a queue of callers. Hope the service improves for us all quickly as we could really use a service we can trust when we're in panic or ill ourselves!

toboldlygo Sun 31-Mar-13 14:15:18

It doesn't go live here on Monday, we've been asked to take the service back for a few weeks as 111 collapsed on day two of the pilot. And yes, it's extremely busy this weekend, only second to Boxing Day.

A great majority of the calls last night weren't the slightest bit urgent, coughs and colds of several days duration or prescriptions running out but they wait until a bank holiday weekend to try and contact a GP... angry

Worth it for the few urgents (and, of course, all the above received a timely call back with advice anyway). And I'm infinitely more confident in our ability to handle the volume as compared to 111, despite having made a percentage of the call handling staff redundant as a result of the supposed launch. I should point out that our call handlers are also not medically trained, except in being able to spot things that require a 999 response and basic triage into urgent/non urgent categories - the difference is that we have an array of local GPs sat next to us and at any point we can snag them for advice on how to proceed or even transfer the patient straight through to them if necessary. This will not be possible with 111.

OxfordBags Sun 31-Mar-13 14:21:46

I had to ring 111 this week, and was shocked and annoyed at how crap it was. Ds was ill in the small hours and I was exhausted and ill myself. Took ages to get through and then they kept asking for all sorts of trivial details I couldn't give off the top of my head (no, I don't fucking know the postcode of my GP's surgery at 2am, FFS, and how does it help my child right now?!). Then, without allowing me to explain anything about the situation, they went through the meningitis symptom check. Now, this is v important, but I knew it wasn't that. Then, when I did try to explain his problems, they kept shutting me up, saying they'd grasped it, when they did not have all the details, and again, kept asking me meningitis-symptom questions in relation to the facts I was allowed to give them.

I waited ages for a phone back and when they did, they had my son's age wrong by 10 yrs, and kept calling him by the first part of his double-barrelled surname instead of his first name. They just said I had to take him to an assessment centre and would send a car. I pointed out that his problem was due to an illness affecting him only as he slept, so that it was fairly pointless to have him seen when he was awake and not displaying the problem, and I just needed some advice over the phone. The nurse cursed under her breath, then I was passed onto another woman who yelled at me and told me I'd be 'no better than a child abuser' if I didn't get him seen. It was like they had some sort of 'enforcer' on hand!

I put the phone down on her and rang 111 to make a complaint. Within 20 mins, two nurses rang to apologise and the first one gave me the actually very simple (which I didn't realise when I rang) advice and reassurance. The car to take us to the centre did arrive anyway, at 4am, and there was no child seat in it, so would've been useless anyway.

Not impressed.

Methe Sun 31-Mar-13 14:22:14

Kiriwawa

"And 111 is not the same as NHS Direct - there were nurses on the other end of the phone there. 111 is staffed by people who have been trained in what they call the algorithm (what the rest of the world would call a decision tree) BUT HAVE NO MEDICAL TRAINING."

Sorry but that's just no correct. There are nurses... The same nurses, the same staff, using the same system.

creamteas Sun 31-Mar-13 14:49:09

Methe not necessarily. 111 went to tender regionally.

In some areas it is the same staff, in others it is call-centre workers with a few weeks training.

For example here

theodorakisses Sun 31-Mar-13 16:59:03

What is wrong with being ill and seeing a doctor unless it is all about cost? By all means let a nurse triage the cases but I can't imagine putting my babies life in their hands.

Tigerbomb Sun 31-Mar-13 19:55:52

you get a car come to pick you up with the 111 service?

Gottalovecosta Sun 31-Mar-13 22:49:27

It's a disgrace. My mum was unwell last week, in a lot of pain. I ring to ring OOH Dr's, to be put through to 111, who asked me questions about her having a stroke/heart attack that were totally irrelevant. In the end (about 20 mins later) he said he'd get a nurse to ring back, with a wait of up to 2 hours. I just wanted an appt with the OOH Dr! I vocalised this to him and he was very helpful, but seemed surprised we'd actually want to see a Dr. In the end my sister took her to A&E where she was admitted and is still in a ward now a week on.
Pitiful. I read in the local paper A&E visits were up 40% in the first week - it's just going to get worse with such a dreadful service.

OxfordBags Sun 31-Mar-13 22:52:25

Tigerbomb, I was very WTF about them sending a car; I think she said something about them usually having some sort of mini van or small ambulance or similar, but to be honest, I was so fucking tired and ill myself and so pissed off that they had woken us up needlessly after the pick-up had been cancelled and we wouldn't have been able to get in anyway, that I wasn't fully taking in what the driver was saying.

fiverabbits Sun 31-Mar-13 23:59:59

Does anyone know if this service is in Wales ?

jaywall Mon 01-Apr-13 01:02:20

A little 101 about 111

Previously with the OOH set up what you had was every area of the country was covered by an OOH service + NHS Direct. Some of these OOH services were small, some were large and they ALL did things differently. You as a user could call either NHSD or your local OOH service or go direct to your hospital.

Also, many people had no idea an OOH service existed let alone the phone number for it. And i happen to know that is the case for a large number of people in this country, unless you had needed to know you probably didn't.

So 111 was dreamt up, a national number that can be utilised in so many dreamy ways. It will free up 999 operators, it can be mapped anywhere and in any way. And it fits right in with drop in centres, walk in centres, the expanding emergency dental requirements and even all the current OOH services as it can link in with any IT system able to communicate via existing standards for information interchange.
It also means every health service in the country can make themselves available, or unavailable in just one place that everyone with an interest can access. They can list what they are equipped to deal with and update this and have it known by anyone looking for that service immediately.

And it can provide a better service for less cost...it really actually can. Before, every area of the country had their own OOH + NHSD, all of them needing enough staff to fulfill required services. Whereas with 111 your initial call can be answered by regional centres or national centres, in fact anywhere. Where an operator can take your call and follow an algorithm which has been designed by a large group of NHS clinicians, and pass your case to the service that best suits your requirements wherever it is in the country. In many cases they can even book you an appointment right there and then anywhere in the country, with details of everything that happened passed automatically on to your GP for their records or action.

It will be a great asset for all of us once the teething problems are dealt with and experience in the systems is built up.

rubytubeytubes Mon 01-Apr-13 01:16:52

Unfortunately jaywalk that isn't actually happening though is it? Lots of promises there but when will that happen?

In my area it failed in the first two hours. Our local OOH service is very good and highly rated because it is staffed by well qualified local clinicians Who can advise on local services/ pharmacies/shops to buy meds from.

Lots of nurses left the ooh as they didnt want to work for 111 only to be asked to come back and help in that two hour period, they gave up their own time to ensure services for patients continued.

I think the system will continue to fail and in a few years local OOH services will be brought back!

jojo2013 Mon 01-Apr-13 01:30:37

Can clearly say I had to phone 111 they were courteous and passed me straight onto a practioner who went through my partners symptoms, they were concerned they wanted me to talk to an ooh doctor, now thats where the problem. Was......6 hours later a doctor called only to say could you pop into the surgery 4 hours later, now fully exhausted I saw him to be told your own GP knows more about your partner, can you see him SHAMBLES!!!!
What is it with this uncaring government? angry

jaywall Mon 01-Apr-13 01:34:15

Why do you think they will continue to fail ?
Where you around when NHSDirect started to take calls? that didn't go well at first but after sorting the teething problems and getting the right staffing it was a resounding success.

This is NHSDirect as it would have been if invented in 2013. I fully agree its not good right now, but the scope of what it is able to do, with the same resources is a huge improvement.

I don't want to be disingenuous but seriously why should'nt we take advantage of new technologies? why shouldn't we invest our taxes in moving with the times and utilising the things that other industries take for granted ?

The local OOH services have for the most part not gone anywhere, all the doctors and nurses are still employed doing mostly the same thing, the only thing thats changed is the front end, the services are all still there.

jojo2013 Mon 01-Apr-13 01:45:08

The ohd service is a joke, at least the 111 device tries to filter out and prioritise what is more urgent and what can wait, 99% of the time the ohd will not come to your house, my partner has heart problems and is always told to drive to the local hospital 15 miles away....FYI I don't drive and have 3 kids at home.

Hawkmoth Mon 01-Apr-13 11:04:26

Same resources? Unlikely. Using a non clinical algorithm makes it more risk averse than clinical triage models used previously, therefore more people will be referred to see doctors, attend A&E or 999. Which, of course, is safer, but it will cost the health economy more.

NillyNolly Mon 01-Apr-13 12:06:03

I had to call again yesterday (same story) then again today. Today was slightly better, I got through quickly to a guy who didn't run through the script (hope he doesn't lose his job), simply asked what DS was doing (watching tv) and how he seemed. He gave us a doctors appointment and that was that.

Perhaps they should have a common sense/aptitude test as a prerequisite for the job?

Well I just had to use this service as dd1s infection is spreading. The lady was very nice but I did have to go through all "the safety questions" despite already having answered yes to is she conscious and breathing . It does seem a bit like what you say doesn't matter as they have to ask set questions and don't deviate whatever u say.

Perfectly pleasant person manning phone but alot of time wated on irrelevant stuff (irrelevant in this case)

Fairylea Mon 01-Apr-13 14:45:03

I suspect a lot of people will go straight to A and E rather than take the risk of ringing 111 and not getting any help or having a long wait, particularly parents who are worried it might be something serious but aren't sure.

A and e will suffer massive floods of people turning up for all sorts.

I doubt overall 111 will save any money when you look at it like that.

And of course waiting times in a and e will become longer as a result.

Kiriwawa Mon 01-Apr-13 15:58:51

Jaywall: I haven't read your very long posts in a great deal of detail but this: "Before, every area of the country had their own OOH + NHSD, all of them needing enough staff to fulfill required services. Whereas with 111 your initial call can be answered by regional centres or national centres, in fact anywhere."

is factually incorrect.

NHSD was a national service, staffed nationally, meaning that if a service fell over or was experiencing excess demand, calls could be diverted to other call centres (or even nurses working from home).

111 has been locally commissioned so it depends what back up the local provider (in many cases private) has in place.

111 is cheaper than NHSD because it's being staffed by monkeys rather than nurses. While I agree that it's great that 111 can make direct referrals to OOH services, there's no reason that couldn't have been done with NHSD. The only reason the government has got rid of NHSD is because it is expensive - this way, the cost is pushed out of a central government overhead and down to regional healthcare budgets. Some commissioners have opted to have bolt ons to the basic service, some haven't, meaning that the functionality of 111 will differ between areas of England.

The ambulance services that already complain about NHSD advising people to call an ambulance for minor ailments (on the basis that they err on the side of caution) aren't going to know what's hit them over the next few months. This is a poorly thought through cost-saving exercise, however it's dressed up.

BlueFishWonder Mon 01-Apr-13 16:09:22

I had to call 111 last night as was concerned DS (2 years) was going down with an ear infection, temperature, complaining of ear hurting, very upset etc. what irritated me more than anything was the fact the call centre person could not understand me and I could not decipher what she was saying at all. the whole thing took nearly an hour, I was then promised someone would ring back within 6 hours. I am all for equality and diversity but do think people taking these calls should be able to understand english and be unstandable on the phone.
the series of questions was ridiculous and in no way related to DS's ailment! Luckily Ds improved over the course of the evening and night - this was especially good as no-one actually phoned us back! DS ok today on calpol and quiet rest and I will take him to my own Dr tomorrow. If he had been any worse after my experience I would have bypassed the 111 service and taken him to a&e, which is the absolute thing they are trying to avoid.
Got to say i wasn't impressed at all.

MissBetseyTrotwood Mon 01-Apr-13 21:42:26

Got through fine, on assessment the call handler said I needed to speak to a GP re. DS2's symptoms.

And... no call back.

Their system went down and they said they would fax (arf, last time I heard that verb was in about 1992) our details over to the OOS. Took him to the GP walk in in the end, which was what I had been trying not to do.

I realise they have to ask the basic safety questions etc - it's all part of the procedure and that's OK. But the basic systems that are fundamental to the safety and integrity of the service are faulty here and I don't know why they've still gone 'live' with these major issues.

Fudgemallowdelight Mon 01-Apr-13 22:53:10

I just looked on the NHS Direct site and it says (as an example) that if a child under 6 months has breathing problems to ring 111. Bit worrying!

https://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/CheckSymptoms/SATs/BreathingProblems.aspx

Kiriwawa Tue 02-Apr-13 10:08:55

MissBetsy - they had no choice but to go live as of 1st April. Many areas didn't award contracts until the very end of last year which is not long enough to get adequate systems in place.

Totally agree that faxing is insane but some GP surgeries and OOH providers don't have any other facility for passing on patient notes!

Mumsyblouse Tue 02-Apr-13 10:17:29

Jaywall clearly you work for one of the large IT consultancies that has benefitted so much from the 111 design and implementation, but your optimism about the NHS being able to utilize these new technologies is completely misplaced- what about the new online healthcare system that has had to be abandoned?

My husband also works in IT in security and his opinion is that large interconnected networks like this always fail, and are massively insecure (as lots and lots of people can access them), plus all local knowledge is lost (e.g. which chemists are open, which drs wil come for a home visit). Now you have a centralized service for non-emergency calls where, because of the IT failure over health records, you can't even see someone's medical history! And instead of immediately passing this person on to an OOH doctor who can make a quick assessment, they are assessed by non-medical staff using a script...

The confidence of IT professionals despite the overwhelmining evidence of their inability to hold together these 'joined up services' is quite incredible and has cost us a lot of money- witness the faxing of patient notes as a method of communication in 2013!

Thurlow Tue 02-Apr-13 12:21:32

I hate it. I called about a 8mo with diarrhea, they told me to go to A&E, A&E were very hmm when we got there and the doctor made a few comments along the lines of "is this your first child?". I wouldn't have gone if they hadn't told me to! All I wanted was to talk to a doctor who could explain the signs of dehydration, reassure me that baby was OK to sleep all night, that sort of thing. But we've not got anything around here than the 111 system.

EldritchCleavage Tue 02-Apr-13 12:50:16

I think losing OOH is mad.

We had to speak to NHS111. We got through straight away, the person answering was nice but it is disconcerting to have a medical issue, especially with a small baby, and have to talk to an untrained person going through a checklist, most of which you both know is completely irrelevant (for which she apologised). We were referred to an OOH GP who was great- helpful and decisive. He told us to go to our local Paediatric A & E.

But actually, DD needed a quick evaluation and a one-off steroid. The kind of thing that a locum/OOH GP doing a home visit or in a local clinic should be able to deal with, and did once deal with.

While I'm very grateful to our fabulous hospital, it seems mad that highly trained and over-stretched hospital paeds were dealing with her. We've lost a whole tier of GP service. Surely bunging everything into A & E is costing far more than having a proper out of hours service?

And a paramedic we met told us to bypass 111 and ring 999 since that's where 111 refers all the calls anyway. Bizarre.

knightynight Tue 02-Apr-13 14:30:45

My only experience so far of 111 was poor. My ds of 5yrs had a temperature for 2 days then on 3rd day could not bear weight at all on his legs. Luckily I was not exceptionally worried as I had heard of a friend's son who had the same thing, but still I wanted to know what to do and if to go to the doctors or not.

I wish I hadn't bothered. The receptionist arranged for a call back. This came quite quickly, the person went through the checklist (fine), listened to the symptoms I gave (fine) and then told me she could not help as she could not give medical advice!!! hmm So I said, 'should I just take him to the doctors then?' and she said yes.

Waste of my time, their time and all of our money!

So I went to the doctors (sit and wait at least an hour of course) which I should have done at first I guess.

You are right, It IS a joke. NHS direct was great. Why change it?

jaywall Tue 02-Apr-13 15:02:48

Kiriwawa

It is actually perfectly correct, every area had NHSD as well as their own OOH service. Duplicating services in many ways.

These OOH services are either all still there maybe taking calls or just taking cases referred to them from 111 or had their contracts taken up by someone else.

111 has been implemented where it uses an algorithm that can pass your call to a nurse or doctor or recommend and ambulance or wait until your GP is avaiable. It is not limited and can

Almost everything you are arguing about is possible and already a part of 111, i don't mean to be condescending but you don't have the whole picture. NHSD have always been able to refer to OOH services, they always have linked together with OOH services but now they have many more options.

111 is not staffed by monkeys, the first layer that a patient will make contact with is not medically trained as was OFTEN the case previously, now however they have an algorithm which can identify how best to then pass the case, to a nurse or doctor etc. All as it was before but better managed.

There are obviously problems right now, i hope they get fixed quickly because the service will be better than before.

jaywall Tue 02-Apr-13 15:28:56

Mummsyblouse

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. A clinician can see clinical data about patients they talk to, this has been working and utilised for ages.
Im not getting into details about this as it is a whole different kettle of fish but the services you are talking about are there now.

Your husband is also mistaken, there happens to be a private network for the NHS from the top to the tip of the country, maintained by one provider.

Your point on local knowledge is also incorrect. Firstly it wasn't there with NHSD and only may have been there with the OOH providers for the local area. Many OOH providers had already outsourced or centralised there call handling out of area.
Now with 111 there is a central repository of availability and services provided for every service in the country that they individual services update themselves in real time. Exactly the data you are talking about. It can and does automatically give the information on a case by case basis based on area or postcode or other demographic.

Anyone utilising a 111 call can at any time pass to a Dr or Nurse or take other appropriate action, within clinical guidelines.

Your point about Faxing is interesting, and im glad you bring it up. It is a hangover from the older services in use before more modern IT solutions. I think you will agree that we should more to more modern solutions?

incidentally faxing is still used widely in OOH services to get data to some GP's surgeries. The services are available to have all this done automatically but not every GP chooses to spend their money on these. Most, however do.

What is very clear is it is not working properly yet, why, i don't know why i only know what the system can and does do. And that in itself is a vast improvement for the ability to provide and give access to health resources.

Im done now. Knock the system as much as you like but try to be accurate.

Evenstar Tue 02-Apr-13 16:02:27

I haven't been well enough to post my experience till today and I am sorry this is very long, but I want people to know just how bad this service is and I intend to write to my MP and PALS.

I have had 2 bad experiences with 111, the first one was 2 weeks ago when I was suffering from severe lower back pain to the point of being bedridden, unable to walk properly and hardly able to reach the bathroom. I rang 111 as it was Sunday morning and was told it might be up to 12 hours until the doctor could call me back. After explaining to the operator how bad things were she wrote urgent on the paperwork and said she would try and get the doctor to call sooner to get me some pain relief. The doctor did ring back in around an hour and agreed to put a prescription at the hospital where our local out of hours service is based. My partner went to pick it up and had to go back again after he had been to the pharmacy as the prescription was incorrectly filled out.

On Sunday night I ended up stuck on the floor and after trying for half an hour to move we had to call 999, I was given gas and air and lifted with a cushion and taken to A & E for more checks on the paramedic's advice. Once there I was left with no further pain relief, and after being checked over and given more tablets was given the option of leaving at 3.15 am in the morning or moving to the observation ward. The nurse had already refused to assist me in any way in getting back into bed after my examination and told me I would be better off at home as there "won't be anyone to help you on the ward". As the paramedics had had to help me to the toilet before I left home I felt I had no option other than to wake my partner and get him to come and fetch me, they fetched a wheelchair as I couldn't walk that far, so I don't feel the taxi they suggested as another option would have been appropriate.

This was bad enough but on Easter Sunday I had to ring 111 again, I have been waiting since February for an "urgent" appointment at the hospital to have a tooth removed under general anaesthetic/sedation as I have tri-geminal neuralgia, on Easter morning I woke up in terrible pain with neuralgia and toothache and a face like a hamster sad I rang the out of hours dental emergency line and was switched through to 111, the first person I spoke to was a young man who told me he had no medical experience/training whatsoever and had to ask me the spellings of all the medical terms. I was rung back shortly afterwards by a nurse, who told me that I needed be dealt with by the doctor for my neuralgia and the dental team for my toothache/abcess. She said she would arrange for the doctor to call me back and that I would have to ring the dental emergency service for the neighbouring county as I was too near the county border to be treated by the one in my own county.

I tried ringing that number, but there was no reply and the number just wouldn't connect. I was then contacted by a receptionist at the out of hours service to check my number before the doctor rang me. The doctor rang just after this and said she couldn't deal with me at all as I was a dental patient and the neuralgia was due to the dental issue, despite the fact I have had it for over 2 years, she also told me that she had 20 patients still waiting for a call back from the day before.

I tried again to contact the dental emergency line for my own county and they were able to get me an appointment at a town 20 miles away "as a favour" DP had gone out by this time so I had to drive myself. Whilst I was waiting to be seen a lady arrived with a young child she was sobbing and in terrible pain, as she had got lost and missed her appointment and had also driven miles.

As I predicted the only thing the dentist could do for me was give me antibiotics and painkillers as nobody can touch the tooth due to the neuralgia, the doctor had refused to put out a prescription as they are not allowed to do that anymore "as somebody wasn't diagnosed with oral cancer due to not being seen by a dentist".

I tried 4 different pharmacies on the way home, all were closed and the final one had a notice in the window directing people to an area I don't know well, I couldn't find the one that was open, my eye was closing due to the neuralgia so I went home. DP went out to get my prescription and came back as there was an hour's wait. In a very heavily populated region it was the only pharmacy open within a 10 mile area. When he went back he had to wait another 10 minutes, the pharmacy was quoting an hour and a half wait to anyone who was already there and turning away people on the phone pleading for them to do prescriptions, including someone with a sick three year old who needed antibiotics, as they were closing.

I am in utter despair at the plight I have found myself in twice due to this shoddy service, and I worry for people who have nobody able to help them or offer transport to collect prescriptions/take them home etc. I feel utterly let down.

StayAwayFromTheEdge Tue 02-Apr-13 16:44:14

Jaywall - you said "A clinician can see clinical data about patients they talk to, this has been working and utilised for ages."

I assume you are talking about Summary Care Records here - not a full history? SCR are not looked on favourably in our area, in fact if you look at the medication list it can be quite dangerous as it doesn't say if Meds have been discontinued, just that they have been prescribed. The availability of SCR varies from one GP practice to another - my GP hasn't implemented it yet.

Mumsyblouse Tue 02-Apr-13 18:40:52

Yes that's right, there's a central repository of information, which the people on the phones can't know about as they themselves are not local, have you ever tried to phone Yellow pages or one of those numbers and ask them about a restaurant down a well-known road- they can't find it either, or it has closed down, or the opening hours have changed. All this dynamic local knowledge is lost, although I do agree with you thatas the OOH was outsourced, some of this was lost anyway although when I used the OOH service for myself, it was amazing, I spoke with a local GP and an ambulance was with me within minutes.

There is no central full patient record system, why pretend there is? It is well-known that the whole project collapsed. This affected a member of my family recently when not only their records were lost, but the referral letters for their surgery, this took over a year to sort out by which time we had paid privately to see a consultant in a different location out of sheer desperation to stop their pain (after numerous calls to PALS/hospital/GP). The NHS has an incredibly inefficient patient records system, ok if you go to your local GP's surgery, but if you work in one county and live in another, the entire thing collapses inwards. You are completely wrong that any health professional who needs it has your information, I can assure you that's why they need to take a medical history from scratch (again and again and again), they rarely have the full records and even if they do, they are often in an incomprehensible unstandardised form! I know this as I have had to search these records for a certain type of data from my job, and it was on the backs of envelopes, falling out of files, and never properly recorded electronically.

My husband comes from a supposedly more backward country, but if he has a blood test in the local surgery or a throat swab, the results come through in real-time 30 min later (or however long the test takes to do). Here you have to wait two days for them to ring you and you are never given a print-out of the information; it is all terribly terribly slow and the IT infrastructure is to blame.

creamteas Tue 02-Apr-13 19:07:26

they have an algorithm which can identify how best to then pass the case

Except of course, that is part of the problem. Not only do you have to answer lots of questions that are irrelevant, quite often what you do want to say about symptoms do not fit into their decision tree. Bodies are complex, and symptoms can present differently in different people.

The response I have got twice is 'I don't have an option for that'.

montage Tue 02-Apr-13 19:57:11

"NHSDirect: is he with you?
Me: no, he's at school
NHS: is he breathing?" confused

I would have been v tempted to say "I hope so!" Captainbarnacle but I can see any attempts at levity would not fit in the script!

Kiriwawa Wed 03-Apr-13 19:26:42

Jaywall - what you wrote implied that NHSD was a regional service along with OOH.

What you should have said is that NHSD was a national service with OOH providing services locally. There is absolutely no reason why NHSD couldn't have integrated with local OOH to provide that bolt on connection between people seeking phone advice and people needing non-emergency treatment. Indeed, they are continuing to provide that service in many regions. As I said in my last post, the only reason they aren't doing so is because of cost and because it suits the government to push that cost onto local CCG budgets.

I do have an idea of how NHSD worked with OOH providers in the past but this wasn't mandated and now it is which is obviously a good thing. So please try not to patronise me.

I agree that linking the service more closely with the local spine will massively improve the service but the fact that the government are seeking to reduce the cost per call to less than half of NHSD's costs by reducing the number of medically trained pros available is going to have an impact on the service OR on the referral rate. It's a false economy

LiamWard Tue 30-Apr-13 10:42:47

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

saranae23 Sat 14-Dec-13 15:44:49

First of all, for an entire system devised by the government/doctors/HCPs to fail, it goes two ways, e.g the newness of 111 vs. the stupidity of the general public. I am a paramedic working for 111, by the way.

Here are some rules I can advise for getting the best out of a very busy and over-abused system.

1. Try to work out what level of treatment you/patient may need before you ring. If someone is clearly having a stroke/heart attack/seizures/is severely injured/severely ill, call 999, not 111. As the advertisement states, 111 is for urgent OOH care, not emergency situations.

2. Similarly, if someone has minor symptoms like a snotty nose, minor cough, fever that has been present for 2 hours, use your common sense or someone else's around you if you haven't got any yourself, if it is serious enough to call for help. If you wouldn't bother family/friends with the issue, why ring an extortionately busy public health service helpline?
In opposition, if one rings up stating that they/the patient have been ill for weeks now and urgently require assistance, the first thing that runs through a call handlers/nurses head is 'why they haven't sorted out their own situation with their GP practices, Walk in Centres etc etc. 'Too busy at work', 'school', 'no time' are not accepted as valid excuses to why some people decide to put their/others health second to other priorities.

3. The process of a 111 call is to take personal details, (to create case records), confirm details (to ensure you get the correct response from a relevant GP/Service in YOUR area) and then the questionnaire based on symptoms mentioned. If you are unhappy with giving details, going through questions designed by doctors and nurses to RULE OUT anything serious to get you the correct level of care, then simply, do not use the service.

4. If you have personal issues e.g no friends or family for support, upset/unwell children, missing prescriptions, lack of medication, severe pain/agitation, it IS NOT the call handlers/nurses/doctors fault. Try your best not to be so rude and you may actually have a chance of receiving very adequate and helpful advice from call handlers as well as medically trained professionals. This of course does not apply to those who already have a polite manner when calling complete strangers and expecting advice on the spot.

5. Halt the whinging and whining about how call handlers are not medically trained. How many GPs/nurses do you think there are in this country? One per person? Use your common sense.

6. Stop telling call handlers/nurses/GPs that you know exactly what is wrong with yourself/the patient. Are you a health care professional with a health care degree? If the answer is no, then your opinion will always be treated as invalid, no matter who you think you are.

In my defence, I'm not saying 111 is great or faultless. Mistakes happen, communication fails, information is misinterpreted by both callers and employees of 111, but there are ways of making systems such as this more manageable and viable to all parties involved. And most of the time, its just the simplest of things that count.

Golddigger Sat 14-Dec-13 15:47:20

Are you having a bad day saranae23 hmm

This is a zombie thread btw.

mrswendy Sun 23-Mar-14 01:05:15

Just reading comments about 111 service. I telephoned them (docs closed) daughter has kidney issues, and was going down same path that ended with her in hospital with Iv's for antbiotics and fluids.
Phoned them at 3pm they called back at midnight. At this point Daughter was in bed.
All I had requested was, where can I take her for urine test and antibiotics. They were told by me I would take her to accident dept of local hospital in morning. And to add insult to injury she tried to tell me someone had tried to phone at 7pm but there was no answer, I was sat with my phone on my knee waiting for call from 3, but even if I had missed the call surley a call back 5 hours later was idiotic.

NurseyWursey Sun 23-Mar-14 01:10:17

Hi Wendy just to let you know this thread is a year old!

Sorry about your DD, I hope she's okay now!

HidingBehindTheDustbins Sun 23-Mar-14 01:17:53

It is dreadful.

I have used it for several different people, elderly & vulnerable, pregnant, babies. Appalling, dangerous and should be scrapped.

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