"Upsetting phone call"

About: NHS 111

(as a relative),

I rang 111 at about 10 p. m. on behalf of my mother-in-law, who had collapsed with vomiting, nausea and visual disturbances.

I explained her condition and answered the questions put to me (which were clearly read out from a template, and which were not all appropriate) as best I could. I was told that my call would be referred to the Out of Hours service, and that I could expect a return call from them in about two hours.

I asked if this could be speed up; my mother-in-law is 86, has a history of minor strokes, and I did not know if her current condition meant that she had suffered a further stroke. I was told that it could not.

I asked if I could ring the Out of Hours service direct, and was told that I could not. I was refused the number of the service. When I asked why, I was told that it would not be appropriate to give that number to every caller. I replied that I did not think that that was necessarily a bad idea. I was told that my call would be referred to the Our of Hours service, and that threatening would do me no good.

I found that last statement peculiarly offensive. I had not made any threat, either directly or by implication. If my tone suggested that I was not wholly satisfied with the responses that I was getting, that can hardly be unusual. I was concerned to ensure that my mother-in-law, the severity of whose condition I was not qualified to gauge, received the best possible treatment. It would be helpful if the inappropriateness of the response was acknowledged, and if I could have some assurance, both for myself and for other users, that callers who are unhappy with the response they receive are sensitively handled and not accused, quite wrongly, of being threatening.

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