Search

Woman, 80, felt 'let down' by GP service

PUBLISHED: 19:16 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:28 30 June 2010

A woman in her 80s this week told how she felt so let down by an out-of-hours GP service that she dreaded weekends and did not feel safe alone at home.

A woman in her 80s this week told how she felt so let down by an out-of-hours GP service that she dreaded weekends and did not feel safe alone at home.

After last week's Mercury front-page story telling how gran Irene Capon had to wait six hours to see a doctor and eventually sought help elsewhere for her breathing difficulties, we were contacted by another reader with the same condition: COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

The 85-year-old woman from Gorleston, who asked not to be named, said she had waited nine hours for a doctor from service provider Take Care Now (TCN) and had gone to bed leaving the door open in case he called, increasing her vulnerability and heightening her fears.

She said she called TCN as she was having difficulty breathing, and was told a doctor would be with her in two hours. In fact, despite her worsening condition, he did not arrive until nine hours later.

“It is about time someone did something about it,” she said.

“At the weekend there is no medical help. I was in fear of my life and could not breathe; it really was awful, very, very frightening. I am disgusted with the service.

“I have come to dread the weekends. I have a nebuliser and steroids and my doctor is very good to me. But it is the weekends that are the problem. This breathing thing can crop up at any time, but you never know when they are going to come. I just do not feel safe.”

The out-of-hours service is operated by TCN on behalf of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney in a contract that runs until October.

The woman said she had not made a formal complaint because she did not know how to. However, Mr and Mrs Capon did so, and TCN is investigating.

A spokesman said patient safety and satisfaction was of paramount importance, adding: “As per national guidelines on out-of-hours service, TCN aims to deal with all emergency calls face-to-face within an hour, or two hours if it is urgent. If it is less urgent you may have to wait up to six hours.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury