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North MSP raises concerns about NHS 24 service

19th September 2016

Highlands & Islands (Including Moray) MSP, Rhoda Grant, has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robinson, about her concerns in relation to the level of care applied to the service provided to constituents in the Highlands & Islands region by NHS 24.

This follows contact she has had from the son of an elderly constituent resident within the region. The elderly lady had a fall and sustained cuts and bruises and a fractured thumb. The son who resides out with the Highlands & Islands, was contacted by his mother out with normal GP hours. Having made contact with NHS 24, they refused to send a professional out to check on his elderly mother until such a time as they could speak to her direct to 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 NHS 24 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.

Rhoda Grant 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 NHS 24 staff deal with similar type calls. What is it staff at NHS 24 are instructed to do when the patient are 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.”

Rhoda Grant went on to say “ If any constituent has experienced similar issues, then I would like to hear from them. 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.”

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