“I advised them [NHS 111] that the pain couldn’t get any worse and if I was left much longer I would not be able to get meds to help with the pain. I told them if there was no call back by 8.30 pm, I would have no alternative but to go to A&E as I could not bear the pain any longer.”
Samantha’s delay to surgery on her toe has had negative physical and emotional impacts on her health. Due to her toe, problem, Samantha has had to change the way she normally walks and this has contributed to a back injury.
After picking up a baby and playing with her, Samantha felt an instant pain in her back.
“I took an anti-inflammatory pill knowing I needed to reduce the inflammation, however, it had no effect even after taking paracetamol. I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit, I was in tears climbing the stairs to go to the bathroom, I knew after long-term back issues I needed stronger painkillers to help me get moving.”
At 2.15 pm she called NHS 111 and was informed she would receive a callback. At approx. 4.30 pm a nurse practitioner called and decided that because of the acute pain Samantha was experiencing, she should be upgraded to speak to a General Practitioner (GP). Samantha was assured she would receive a call within two hours.
“After 2 hours I had no callback. I rang back and it was explained to me that they would chase it up and to call back in half an hour if I didn’t receive a call. I left it longer knowing how busy they were but I still hadn’t received a call so I rang back again. This time the response wasn’t great I was told they’re really busy and would just get to me as soon as they could.”
Samantha was informed that if the pain got worse she should call back.
“I advised them that the pain couldn’t get any worse and if I was left much longer I would not be able to get meds to help with the pain. I told them if there was no call back by 8.30 pm, I would have no alternative but to go to A&E as I could not bear the pain any longer.”
By 8.30 pm Samantha had still received no callback, she went to A&E.
“It shouldn’t have been an A&E call and I was extremely embarrassed to take it to that level but I needed pain relief.”
Samantha was triaged, and given diazepam for the pain. At 12.30 am the NHS 111 GP called but she couldn’t answer as she was being seen by staff at the time. They then tried to call her again in the morning.
“What frustrates me is that [NHS] 111 may be down as hitting their telephone call return target as ‘someone called me back’ however being left in extreme pain for so long was awful. I tried to explain on the phone how much pain I was in, but they were clearly in demand ‘as it was a bank holiday’ and did not have the resources to deal with the demand.”
Samantha pays for a chiropractor to help her back pain as she believes there is little chance of help through the NHS for this. She feels she is often left questioning “How do those who can’t afford to pay manage?”.
“The chiropractor after assessing me told me my body was leaning to the left so when I spun round to the right it caused the damage. We worked out my body was leaning to the left as it is compensating for the fact that I am awaiting surgery on my toe on the right foot and am relying on the left-hand side of my body to compensate for my new way of walking, as a consequence of delays for elective surgery it has caused other issues.”
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