They took so long I could have died

I was taken ill on Sunday, February 26, got worse as the day progressed with very painful jaw, ear and gum ache with a throbbing head, also a very cold left upper arm.

I rang NHS Direct at 8.30pm. I was passed from one person to another and the final person said they were very busy and it could be 12 hours before I was contacted.

No one could give me advice.

They did say that if anyone was available during the night they may ring me.

I quite rudely told them what to do, as anyone could be dead in that time. I said if I was that bad I would dial 999.

There was no empathy or concern at all.

They actually did ring back at 11am the next day.

I then tried 111. They were marvellous and within ten minutes I had spoken to a doctor and was told what to do.

I have worked in the NHS for ten years so I do know a bit about the workings.

Later that week I e-mailed NHS Direct with a complaint, of which I had an auto reply saying they would look into the matter.

I did not hear anything more until I contacted them again over two weeks later asking if this matter was still being investigated or filed in the bin. I then got an e-mail back, upholding my complaint and offering apologies.

My main point of writing to you is to let other people know not to ring NHS – they are useless – but to ring 111.

They were very helpful and kind.

S JOHNSON

Park Close

Spalding