"NHS 24 and out of hours care"

About: Leith Community Treatment Centre NHS 24

(as the patient),

I took very ill over the Christmas period and had to call NHS 24 several times over the week. I was referred to a walk in centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital. Diagnosed with severe flu - despite my symptoms including brown/bloody looking cough sputum. No listening to my chest. Told to take paracetamol and ibuprofen. Became more and more unwell and called NHS 24 advice (or a neighbour did) and told to give my flu 'more time'. Despite this, we insisted I needed to be seen again and a taxi was sent (too ill to stand up never mind drive), breathing was incredibly difficult, walking too. I needed antibiotics for an unspecified chest infection. Then went to my GP where in fact it was diagnoses as serious pneumonia (double). Took 5 weeks of high strength antibiotics, pain, fear that I wasn't getting better, and only my GP seemed to give good and proper care and attention. And her view is that I should have been hospitalised and on I/V antibiotics from the outset.

I feel the online help was not adequate - and when they refuse to speak to a representative of the patient - when the patient is too ill to speak -it seems unhelpful. And the out of hours care at the Royal Victoria Hospital was poor, failing to listen to my chest or refer me to A&E when I was so ill, could have ended very badly for me. With double pneumonia then lasting 2 months, it was a horrendous time. There was also no suggestion I should see my GP or that it could even be pneumonia as opposed to a milder chest infection - despite very obvious symptoms that should be understood by any medic.

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Responses

Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

picture of Shona Lawrence

Thank you very much for your posting via Patient Opinion. I read your posting with interest and I am very sorry to learn that you were subsequently diagnosed with pneumonia.

I note that you had several contacts with NHS 24 during the Christmas period and it would appear that you were referred by NHS 24 for face to face assessment at the NHS Lothian Out of Hours Service. Any care provided at the Out of Hours Service would require to be addressed by NHS Lothian. I do note however that NHS Lothian have been notified of your posting to enable them to provide you a response.

I am sorry to read your comment in which you feel the help provided by NHS 24 was inadequate. It may be helpful if I explain that the NHS 24 Unscheduled Care Service is a Nurse led Advice and Referral Service. Following assessment of a patient's displaying symptoms by NHS 24, if deemed appropriate, onward referral for a patient to attend at their local Out of Hours Service is one of the options which can be arranged. Following referral, patient care is then passed to your local Health Board.

I note you have referenced the challenges in speaking directly to NHS 24 staff. I would explain that, where possible, NHS 24 Clinical Staff will always try to speak directly to the patient. This can assist the NHS 24 Nurse Practitioners in achieving the most appropriate outcome for a patient as speaking directly to a patient can assist in providing valuable information in relation to the overall assessmentof a patient's symptoms. Whilst speaking to a patient is helpful, if they feel unable to do so, NHS 24 will manage a call via a representative. If this was not your experience, I would be pleased to hear further from you.

Thank you again for providing your feedback and I do hope that your health continues to improve. Should you wish NHS 24 to investigate any issues further for you, we would be pleased to do so. I can be contacted directly on 0141 337 4582 or by email at patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk.

With regards

Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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Response from Customer Relations and Feedback Team, NHS Lothian

Dear Edinburgh Patient

I am so sorry that the Out of Hours Care at the Victoria Hospital was poor for you and that you were diagnosed with doube pneumonia. I do hope you have now made a full recovery.

That you very much for taking the time to post your comments as NHS Lothian values all feedback and I will bring your comments to the attention of the Out of Hours snior staff.