"Bad experience of 111 (Swindon)"

About: NHS 111

(as a relative),

My wife is 13 weeks pregnant with twins. It's so far been a difficult pregnancy. She had heavy bleeding around 2am this morning so I phoned the out-of-hours emergency service at our local doctors. Only there is no out-of-hours emergency service. I was shocked, I had always thought there would be another number to call to get through to a duty care doctor in case of emergencies. Instead we were given the 111 (non-emergency service) number. It does strike me as a bit odd that the out-of-hours emergency service is a non emergency service!

The person on the line at 111 asked many questions and then said that my wife should be seen by someone in the next two hours and that a doctor would call us back soon. Great.

We got the call five hours later. When I spoke to the person at 111 they said to go and speak to your GP and said, "Well, they'll be open by now". To be honest I couldn't see the point in the 111 service.

Fortunately my wife's bleeding slowed and I was able to make an appointment at the specialist NHS clinic at Oxford. I did that myself, without the help of 111 or our GP, basically because I had no choice.

Now that worked out OK for us this time, but the problem is that between GP normal hours and A&E there is often nothing. No one to go to. The 111 people are non-medically trained staff. They can refer you to a doctor who will (eventually) phone you back and tell you to go to your GP!

There needs to be proper out-of-hours doctors on duty that will see the patients or at least speak to them to allay their fears, then A&E will be better placed to deal with the poor people who really are an emergency.

I can only presume that 111 are under-staffed, poorly trained and that there are not enough out-of-hours doctors, so you're just kept on hold until 8 am when the GP is open again.

In my experience, it's just all a bit…crap.

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