"Advice from NHS 111"

About: Harmoni / NHS 111

(as a friend),

I telephoned NHS 111 out-of-hours to get advice for a friend who has recently discovered her partner has been drinking about 5 pints of alcohol per night for several years. He had agreed to stop drinking so has not drunk for nearly two days, however she and I were both slightly worried about the risks of suddenly stopping drinking e. g. from the amount he has been drinking, is there any risk of seizures or anything else from suddenly stopping.

The person who answered the call was helpful and said she would get someone to call me back. I was called back by someone who introduced themself as, I think, a Health Advisor. She advised me that as far as she knew there was no danger from suddenly stopping drinking for a heavy drinker other than that people often start drinking again, and seemed unaware that there may be any potential risks if someone drinks heavily and then stops suddenly.

She said that if I really wanted she could ask a doctor to call me back, but she didn't sound very encouraging of this and said that it wasn't something she knew much about but repeated several times that as far as she knew there were no risks involved. I am concerned that she would give out potentially dangerous and misleading advice - many people do stop alcohol suddenly without any significant harm but for a small group of people there can be very dangerous consequences.

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Response from Amanda Mayo, NHS 111 Service Director, Harmoni

Thank you for posting your experience with NHS111 on the Patient Opinion website. If you would like us to look into the case you describe above please email me more details including the patients name, date of birth and date of contact with the service and I can look into this further. The email address yo need to use is harmoni111.feedback@nhs.net. Due to patient confidentiality I will not be able to discuss with you any clinical details of the patient.

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