Several raise their concerns about 111

20:36, Feb 23 2014

A range of people have shared with The Timaru Herald their concerns about perceived problems with responses to 111 calls.

Lynaire Kane, of Timaru, became concerned about the service after her 81-year-old mother became unwell while working at the Salvation Army on February 14.

A Salvation Army representative phoned St John and was told a paramedic would be sent.

However, by the time Mrs Kane arrived at the Salvation Army, the ambulance had not arrived.

Instead, a St John representative phoned to ask for the patient's details, including age and whether she had any pre-existing health problems.

Mrs Kane was then told her mother had been assessed and St John would call the patient's doctor, with whom an appointment was made.


However, when they arrived at the doctor's, Mrs Kane was told her mother did, in fact, need to go to hospital.

"I'm not a doctor, but I don't think you can diagnose people on the phone."

Mrs Kane said she had also heard about an 86-year-old who had a fall about six weeks ago, who went through the same process as her mother.

Doug Sail, of Hunter, was also left questioning the service.

Mr Sail's wife had called for an ambulance after he became violently ill. The ambulance turned up and paramedics did tests, but they said he did not require hospital.

"From there, they said my wife should take me to my GP. From where we live, that's 15 kilometres into Waimate." He was so unwell that he required assistance to get to the car.

Further tests were completed at the doctor's and the decision was made to call for another ambulance to get him to hospital.

Lyn Fattorini, of Geraldine, also raised concerns.

"Working as a carer, I had to wait for over an hour with a client who had spent the night on the floor, tangled in her walker, with a suspected broken hip. There was no ambo coverage for Geraldine or Temuka in the weekends at that time [April 2013]."

She submitted a formal complaint, which she believes "deflected the onus" for the lack of service back to her community.

"I have a huge amount of respect for the frontline volunteers and paramedics; and [now] very little for those behind the scene."

The Timaru Herald