Fears that NHS24 is not meeting needs of the elderly

NHS24 - failing elderly patients who find themselves in trouble?
NHS24 – failing elderly patients who find themselves in trouble?

AN ELDERLY WOMAN who suffered a fractured thumb, cuts and bruises from a fall should have received more care from the NHS24 service.

That is the view being expressed by Highlands and Moray MSP Rhoda Grant, who was made aware of the situation by the woman’s concerned son who lives outside the region.

The son had been contacted by his mother out of normal GP hours to let him know of her fall – concerned, he contacted NHS24 directly to alert them of the situation but was shocked when they refused to alert an NHS Grampian professional to check on his mother until such time as they could speak to her directly and make an over-the-phone assessment.

Despite being advised by the son that the elderly lady had mild cognitive impairment and she would not be able to have this dialogue, staff at NHS24 could not assist further and the son had to make arrangements through others residing closer to his mother for her to be conveyed to the local A&E.

Now Mrs Grant has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health to highlight the case and her concerns that the system was failing some elderly patients.

She said: “There has to be something wrong with a system that is supposed to offer an efficient and effective caring medical service, equal to that offered by duty GP’s and yet when an elderly patient or their family find themselves in this situation, the dedicated service cannot assist or provide any guidance.

“I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, highlighting this particular case and asking her to review the way NHS24 staff deal with similar type calls. What is it staff at NHS24 are instructed to do when the patient is unable to speak for themselves and they are contacted by next of kin?”

“How many elderly people living alone, or others, perhaps without full cognitive ability, find themselves in a similar situation and when they phone, or someone else phones for them the dedicated service line, staff cannot help them?

“This cannot be right and I am seeking answers to allay the fears of probably very many constituents.”

Mrs Grant called on any constituents in Moray who had experienced similar issues to get in touch with her.

She added: “These types of issues may well be happening within our communities, but unless they are highlighted to people like ourselves, then they will not be addressed.”

Rhoda Grant can be contacted by telephone on 01463 716299, Rhoda.grant.msp@parliament.scot, or by post at PO Box 5717, Inverness, IV1 1YT

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