"Unhelpfull 999 response"

About: East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust / NHS 111 Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

I am a 47 year old female. I called 999 recently between 8. 00-8. 30am as I had been confused over night and had a pleuritic chest pain. The day before my GP advised me to go to local AMU or call 999 if I become worse. GP said I possibly got PE or bad chest infection. When I called the 999 on the morning the woman who answered the call got my details and said she is going to get her co-ordinator to call me back in 60 minutes time. While I was waiting for them to call back my head was aching and I was shivering very badly. I was loosing control and my whole body felt like a jelly. The 999 co-ordinator called me back less than in hour and started to talk to me. She was just asking the standard text book questions which I managed to answer. She was on the phone about 15-20 minutes asking questions which were not relevant to my condition at all. After the standard text book questions she said "well, you are talking to me and able to answer all the questions. can you get to the hospital by yourself? " I told her that I am not fit to drive at that moment. she then asked me "have you got someone to take you there? " I replied, "I have got a friend, but he is not well either". She then said " you dont have to go to hospital straight away, you have got all day to get there". I was so disappointed and disgusted by her answer. At the same time, I knew there is something very bad happening in side my body and my dear friend noted I wasn't myself. We thought it was a waste of time calling 999 who have no clue of real illness. We quickly packed a bag and my dear friend who could hardly walk drove me to the A&E department. When we got to the A&E reception I could hardly walk as my both legs were aching so much and I was almost going to collapse. The receptionist in A&E were kind and booked me in. Few minutes later a young nurse called me into the triage room and as soon as she looked at me she knew I was in a life threatening state. she quickly checked my vital sings and got a brief history. My low blood pressure, raised heart beat and extremely high temperature scored a EWS of 8 at that time. Young nurse quickly put me into a wheel chair and rushed me into the A&e RESUS where I was dignosed with life threatening infection and given various IV antibiotics, IV fluids, anti emetics and IV paracetamols to stabilise my life. If I listen to the 999 co-ordinator who assessed me by text book questions and waited to come to A&E in the afternoon I would have died and I would have not been here to tell the world my story today. I am very grateful for the A&E staff who saved my life, but I am very disgusted and disappointed about the 999 co-ordinator who throw text book questions at me for 20 minutes rather than sending me an ambulance to go the A&E.

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Response from Marian Burgess, Patient Services Facilitator, East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

I am sorry that you have had cause to raise concerns about East of England Ambulance Service. I would like to investigate the concerns you have raised and would be grateful if could email eoeasnt.feedback@nhs.net with the date and the location you called us from so that I can trace call and the staff involved and begin an investigation if you would like us to do so.

Kind regards

Marian Burgess

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Response from Janice Bradfield, Senior Communications and Membership Manager, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We hope you are making a good recovery after such a serious illness. Thank you for telling us about the receptionist in A&E being helpful and for the lifesaving help provided by the nurse.

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