"Appalling Out of Hours Service"

About: Bolton PCT / GP Out of Hours Service

(as a relative),

My husband has been experiencing dental pain over the weekend which has come to a head this afternoon and he is starting to feel lightheaded and sick with the pain. The emergency dentist is only open for 2 hours on a sunday morning so thats out of the question so my only option was to ring the GP out of hours service. I cant be sure of the name of the person who answered the phone but I was very unhappy with their assistance.

I explained the situation and all they said was they would have to put me through to the dental department at Bolton. I was trying to find out from them if they would be open and if they offered a separate service to the Lever Chambers one as they were closed. All this person kept telling me was that they had to put me through to Bolton as the Doctor wouldnt deal with any dental pain. I understood this but how hard is it to find out from someone if the service they are putting me through to is open??

This person's attitude was nothing short of appalling and eventually they just put my call through to a GP out of hours service, NOT a dental out of hours service. The person I spoke to the second time could at least tell me the number but also told me it was closed, because it was Lever Chambers.

In the end this second person took our details and said they would ask for a doctor to ring us back to see if they could give us any advice. A doctor did eventually ring back, but again was very abrupt. The doctor told me they would prescribe antibiotics but all we wanted was painkillers and I had to ask for these!!!

I feel the out of hours dental service in Bolton is absolutely appalling. Unfortunately dental pain doesn't always fall between Monday - Friday and Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you are ill you can go to A&E or an out of hours doctor so why can you not see a dentist?

The person who took my first call did nothing to try and ease a stressful situation, and I find it incredibly bad that someone should have to suffer in so much pain because a doctor wont provide help in pain management at a time when no-one else is available. This is not the first time this has happened and I doubt it will be the last, but something needs to be done about this. NHS Direct's advice to take paracetamol is useless and patronising - most people will have already tried that and are ringing for help because nothing else is working.

I am so disappointed - lets just hope I can get the prescription easily enough!

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