"Abdominal Pain"

About: NHS 24 / NHS 24 (111 service) Perth Royal Infirmary / Accident & Emergency Scottish Ambulance Service / Emergency Ambulance

(as the patient),

I became extremely unwell with abdominal pain a few days ago and I thought it was IBS pain. However the pain grew in intensity to the point I was writhing about crumpled in a ball. My daughter called NHS24 and eventually got through to a call handler who went through all the usual questions then wanted to speak to me. I was in so much pain I could hardly talk to him. Despite my agony I was told I would get a call back in 3 hours!  

After the call I started vomiting and I was in even more pain so my daughter called NHS24 again as I was deteriorating, once she got through all the questions again and explained what was happening, we were told it would still be a 3hr callback.

I am not someone who calls the gp or 111 for the slightest thing, I have to be very very ill to see a Dr. Anyway, I was in so much pain there was no way I could hang on for 3hrs for someone to call so took the scary decision to call the Scottish Ambulance Service on 999 for help. They attended and were fantastic, they attended to me for about 30 mins before transferring me to PRI A&E, where I was seen quickly, and made comfortable.

I cannot praise the paramedics or hospital staff enough, they were fantastic. I was diagnosed with Renal Colic and kidney stones, so thank you NHS24 for the phone call back 2 and a half hours later whilst I was being treated in hospital, you were a bit late and useless. Have been advised to bypass NHS 24 and go straight to a and e should the pain come back.

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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

picture of Shona Lawrence

Dear JJ111

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I was very sorry to hear of your abdominal pain and that you required to attend at Perth Royal Infirmary where you were diagnosed with renal colic and kidney stones. I appreciate that this would have been extremely painful.

I read your comments in relation to your experience of NHS 24 with concern and I would be pleased to be able to explore this further to establish exactly how your call to our service was managed. I am keen to establish whether all of your symptoms were captured by us to ensure appropriate prioritisation of your call. Calls to NHS 24 are prioritised on the symptoms described by the patient or caller and other factors. We always endeavour to pass calls to an NHS 24 Nurse Practitioner for immediate assessment, however, there are times, for example when our service is particularly busy, when calls are required to await a call back. Calls which are deemed safe to be placed on the clinical queue are monitored and prioritised at all times by NHS 24 Senior Clinical Staff. When calls are required to be queued, callers are advised to contact us again should their symptoms change or worsen in the interim. From what you have explained, this is what happened in your case, therefore I am keen to understand how the return call was also managed.

I note your comments in relation to the number of questions asked by NHS 24 and I am sorry for any additional distress this caused. NHS 24 are currently reviewing this with a view to reducing the number of questions asked of patients and callers. NHS 24 staff do not have the benefit of seeing our patients face to face, therefore we do need to ask a number of questions to ensure patient safety, accurate record keeping and appropriate prioritisation of calls.

I would be pleased if you would be kind enough to contact me directly to provide some additional detail which would enable me to arrange an investigation into your contact with us. This would establish if there is anything we could have done differently or better. I can be contacted on 0141 337 4582 or by email at patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

NHS 24 welcomes all patient feedback and patient safety is our top priority. I will ensure that your story is shared with NHS 24 Senior Clinical staff to raise their awareness of your experience.

I do wish you a speedy recovery. Thank you again for taking the time to share your story. I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards


Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

0141 337 4582

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Response from Martin Esposito, Patient Experience Manager, Corporate Affairs and Engagement Department, Scottish Ambulance Service

picture of Martin Esposito

Dear JJ111

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

I was really sorry to read about your recent illness but glad to hear about the care provided by the ambulance staff that treated you. I am also glad to hear that you are on the mend.

Thank you again for sharing and take care.


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Response from Alison Moss, Feedback Manager, NHS Tayside

Dear JJ111

As the Senior Charge Nurse in A&E in Perth I was pleased to receive such positive feedback regarding your attendance in the Department. I am grateful to you for taking the time to post this and I will share your experience with all members of the A&E team.

Kind regards

Mary Cumming

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