"Out of hours service"

About: Lanarkshire Community Services / GP Out of Hours service NHS 24 / NHS 24 (111 service)

(as the patient),

I phoned the 111 number at 3am and after a 20 minute interview was told an appointment had been made for me at the Douglas st clinic for 6. 30am. I live near the village of Forth in South Lanarkshire and neither my husband or I know Hamilton and this is where our journey became a nightmare.

When we arrived in Hamilton and found many one way systems in operation we found that taking the wrong turn and ending up in a no entry caused us to lose our bearings (we are both over 70) and we didn't have a clue where to go next. Many of the roads didn't have name plates so even having a map didn't help as we didn't know which road we were on.

I thought to phone ahead and let them know the problems we were having hoping they could give us directions but the answer machine said they were not open until Monday morning at 9am

This is not a good experience for people who are ill and don't know the area. Maybe a bit more thought given to the people who don't live in the area feel having to deal with this. The service from the staff at the clinic was excellent, kind, courteous and very helpful. The journey getting there was a nightmare.  What could be improved?  Having an out of hours service nearer my home.

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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Affairs Manager, NHS 24

picture of Shona Lawrence

Dear Jennyjoo

Thank you for sharing your experience on Patient Opinion. I was sorry to learn that you had to be referred to the Out of Hours service and from what you have described, this was a real challenge for you and your husband due to the unfamiliar area.

I note that you had contacted NHS 24 which resulted in your being referred for further face to face assessment. It is unfortunate that you did not re-contact NHS 24 to advise that you were lost as we may have been able to assist you in directing you to the appropriate location. We also could have made contact with the Out of Hours Service on your behalf to advise that you were having difficulty and would be later in attending your appointment.

The locations at which patients are required to attend the Out of Hours Service are determined by the local Health Board and I am sure NHS Lanarkshire will read your comments with interest.

I am pleased to note your positive comments about the staff who managed your care at the clinic.

Should you wish us to explore any aspect of your call to NHS 24, we would be happy to do so. Please do not hesitate to contact me on 0141 337 4582 or by email at patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

I do wish both you and your husband well.

With kind regards


Shona Lawrence

NHS 24 Patient Affairs Manager

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Response from Laura Jack, Patient Affairs Manager, Primary Care Division, NHS Lanarkshire We have made a change

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Dear Jennyjoo,

Thanks for your post. We were really sorry to read about your experience and can completely understand how frustrating this must have been not being able to locate Douglas Street - particularly when you were unwell. I've spoken with the General Manager responsible for the Out of Hours Service, Mr Tom Bryce and he has asked me to update you.

I’m pleased to say that in collaboration with South Lanarkshire Council new signage for throughout Hamilton has been ordered. This should help in directing patients who are not aware of the Hamilton area to the clinic at Douglas Street. It is hoped that these will give directions from all main routes leading into the town.

Discussions are currently ongoing about when these signs will be erected.

In addition to this and as a result of your post, we have updated our telephone answering service at Douglas Street clinic so that this now provides details of our Out of Hours telephone number, should anyone need any assistance by way of directions to the clinic. This is in addition to the information available on our website too.

I do hope this is of some reassurance to you that we have taken you comments on board and are progressing with changes to make the service easily accessible to its users, where ever they may come from.

Many thanks and I hope you are feeling better.


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Update posted by Jennyjoo (the patient)

Hi Laura

Thanks for your response and the good news that my suggestions have been taken on board. This is great news for future users of the system and should help their experience to be better than mine.

The NHS like all large organisations which is expected to be all things to all people gets it wrong at times but its great to know that suggestions are taken on board and better still acted on.

Thank you to all concerned in responding to my story.