"Making a call for emergency assistance at home, early morning"

About: NHS 24

(as the patient),

I had to call NHS 24 for emergency treatment and was left flabbergasted, exasperated and very worried by their response.

Having got up 07: 30 start preparing for work, I accidentally caught my ankle and as a consequence burst open a small vein/artery in my left ankle. Blood began to spurt everywhere so as a qualified first aider I tried to no avail to control the bleeding. I then called my daughter who did not answer and then straight away phoned NHS 24 and pressed 1 for an emergency, as I knew if I couldn't control the bleeding and I lost too much blood I could go into shock and in theory even die. I also explained to the girl on the phone that I was a 54yr old type 2 Diabetic with Lymphedema.

Whilst I was answered by a very polite call centre operator, her advice on having consulted the on duty nurse was to get myself to A&E. How? I replied when I'm here on my own and was unable to get myself back upstairs to dress myself, let alone drive a car with blood pouring out my leg. Just throw a bathrobe round me and get a taxi I was told, A&E wouldn't mind. Unbelievable, what taxi would take someone who was liable to cover their back seat in blood, let alone the indignity of turning up in such attire.

I hung up and tried my daughter's number once more, thankfully she answered and drove over to me within 15mins. As a qualified first aider also, she was able to bandage the ankle to apply pressure (however it took 2 bandages), helped me to dress and drove me straight down to our local A&E where I was treated with great efficiency and courtesy and even given a cup of tea and a sandwich.

I know NHS 24 is an advisory service, but I had pressed the option for emergency help, as I am cautious by nature and don't like to trouble other people unnecessary, but feel now I might have been better just calling 999 as without my daughter's help I could have died.

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Response from Mark Kelly, NHS24

Dear Distressed First Aider,

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I was concerned to read of your experiences in relation to the services provided by NHS 24 and I am sorry that you felt let down. I appreciate that this will have been a distressing time for you and do hope you are recovering well following your treatment in Accident and Emergency.

Here at NHS 24 patient safety is our top priority and your feedback is welcomed and taken seriously as this helps us to improve the service we provide to patients.

NHS 24 are keen to explore this particular contact with our service further, therefore I would be pleased if you would be kind enough to contact our patients affairs team directly to provide additional detail. This would enable a full review of your call to our service.

Thank you again for taking the time to tell your story, we endeavour at all times, to ensure that persons who use our service, at what, we fully appreciate are distressing times, have a positive experience.

Should you care to contact NHS 24 further to provide some additional detail, our patient affairs team can be contacted on 0141 337 4582 or by email at patientaffairs@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

With kind regards,


Mark Kelly

Head of Clinical Governance and Quality Improvement

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