Health chiefs apologise to terminally ill Scottish woman who waited 11 hours for a doctor

Health bosses have apologised after a terminally ill cancer patient was left waiting more than 11 hours to see a doctor.

The housebound woman, who suffers from throat cancer, has to be fed through a tube and her daughter was left to inject her with crushed up pills after a doctor eventually showed up.

The patient’s daughter, who told of the ordeal on condition of anonymity, phoned NHS 24 at 9.30am on the morning of April 6 after her mum took unwell at home in Greenock, Inverclyde - but wasn’t seen until nearly 9pm that night.

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The woman’s daughter said the GP had travelled from Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, more than 23 miles away, because there was no out-of-hours doctor covering Inverclyde.

The woman, who has terminal throat cancer, waited more than 11 hours to see a doctor. Picture: Google Street View
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Health board bosses have apologised and admitted that the woman had endured an ‘unacceptably long wait’ due to a shortage of GPs.

But the ill woman’s daughter fears it could happen again if out-of-hours cover is not properly addressed.

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She said there is a ‘major problem’ with the health service.

The worried daughter said: “My mum is terminally ill and she had to wait over 11 hours for a GP as there was not one doctor in Inverclyde and they had to get a GP from Alexandria.

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“It’s really concerning that somebody in that position can’t see a doctor for over 11 hours.

“There is clearly a major problem.

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“My mum can’t eat or drink and has a feeding tube which goes into her stomach.

“I had to phone NHS 24 back three times.

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“When a doctor did turn up, he didn’t have the medication required and had to crush up pills and asked me to inject it because he was in a hurry.

“It was shocking.”

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The woman said it turned out her mum had developed an infection as a result of the feeding tube.

She said: “I’m worried that this will happen again so I want to highlight it - I feel so strongly about it.

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“It’s shocking to think there was no out of hours GPs when you think of the size of Inverclyde.”

This is just the latest in a string of episodes in relation to the GP out-of-hours service in Inverclyde, which runs from Greenock Health Centre and then Inverclyde Royal Hospital after midnight at the weekends.

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On the weekend of March 30 and 31, no out-of-hours GPs were available in Inverclyde, forcing patients to travel to a centre in Paisley, Renfrewshire, 18 miles away, instead.

A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokesman said: “We are very sorry to hear of this patient’s experience and would like to apologise to her for her unacceptably long wait.

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“We provide services across both primary care emergency centres and home visiting and due to the shortage of GPs we did take longer than we would wish to visit patients in their homes on this Saturday.

“To ensure safety, patients who call NHS24 requesting a home visit are categorised by their urgency, and are given advice on what to do should their condition change.

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“It should also be remembered that the out of hours GP system is not for emergencies and those in need of urgent care should attend one of our emergency departments or dial 999.

“We would be more than happy to meet with this lady to discuss her concerns if she contacts us directly.”

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