"Inconsistency within the system"

About: NHS 24 / NHS 24 (111 service) NHS Borders

(as a relative),

I phoned NHS 24 at9am today because my wife was ill. It was quite likely that she had a urinary tract infection because a year ago she was admitted to hospital in sepsis with a uti, critically ill. It was important to have urgent medical attention

My wife discussed her symptoms with a nurse who decided that a home visit was necessary and to expect a house visit soon. As no one had come, at 2pm I was concerned that the delay was too long ie 5 hours. I phoned NHS 24. My call was redirected and the doctor returned my call apologising that there had been an error in communication and she would arrange a home visit asap. The Dr came within about 30 minutes

I learned from him that, there had been a communication problem. Apparently, normally NHS 24 communicates with the Doctors Centre by phone. On this occasion the information was faxed which the staff were not expecting. He said faxing was not usual practice.

Under the circumstances this inconsistency needs to be corrected immediately, before it results in a disastrous outcome

I hope you will take steps to rectify this weakness As soon as possible.

The medical attention my wife received was excellent but this kind of thing destroys ones faith in what theoretically should be a good system

Yours Sincerely

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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

picture of Shona Lawrence

Dear James X

Thank you very much for providing feedback via Patient Opinion. I am very sorry to learn that your wife has been unwell and I do hope that her health is improving.

I read your posting with interest and note that, following assessment of your wife's symptoms by NHS 24, her details were passed by NHS 24 to NHS Borders with a request for a home visit to be undertaken. It may be helpful if I explain that when NHS 24 requests follow up care for a patient from our partner Health Boards, then this request is sent from NHS 24 to the relevant Health Board by electronic means. There are occasions when, if there is a delay in patient care being progressed, we may telephone our partner health boards to expedite this, however our initial request is sent electronically. NHS 24 provides our partner Health Boards with an indicative timeframe in which the follow up care should be undertaken. This method of communication works well and ensures that patient care can then be prioritised by the local Board.

I am keen to learn more of your wife's experience to establish if there is anything NHS 24 could have done differently. We would then be able to establish exactly when the request was made by NHS 24 to NHS Borders and the reasons for any subsequent delay in care being provided. If you care to contact me directly with some additional information then I would be happy to arrange a review of the call to our service. I can be contacted on 0141 337 4582 or by email at patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

With kind regards

Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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Response from NHS Borders

I am sorry to learn of your concerns about a service provided by the Borders General Hospital. We welcome all patient feedback as it enables us to improve our services. In order for us to look into your experience please contact the Feedback and Complaints Team on 01896 826 719, and we will investigate the issue you raised in more detail.

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Response from NHS Borders

Dear James X

Thank you for the feedback regarding your wife’s recent experience with NHS24 and Borders Emergency Care Service. I am very sorry to hear that there was a delay in your wife receiving her home visit and for any distress that this has caused you both.

It would appear on initial investigation that there was a breakdown in the usual lines of communication between NHS 24 and our local service. We are looking into the issue in detail along with our NHS 24 partners to gain a full understanding of why this happened and what remedial action is required to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I hope that your wife is feeling better now and I am grateful to you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Dr Jonathan Kirk

Associate Medical Director and Co-Chair of Primary, Community and Acute Services

NHS Borders

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Update posted by James X (a relative)

Dear Dr Kirk

Thank you for your response to my concerns.I have been impressed with all the response and evidence of the interaction of the various NHS units coordinating to investigate whether there is really is a communication problem that needs sorting or whether it's a one off slip up.

My wife seems to be improving.Thank you for your concern.

Yours Sincerely

James X