HEALTH: What hope do we have?

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Last Saturday, my wife and I had our granddaughters, who are aged four and seven, stay with us.

At approximately 10pm, the older girl complained of being cold, yet she felt very hot.

We put her to bed and, after 10 minutes, checked on her. She was now feverish.

At this point, we decided to call 111. After an hour on the phone answering all sorts of questions, we were advised to take her to a&e.

When we informed NHS Direct that we lived in Spalding and the nearest hospital was in Boston, we were instead told to attend a medical centre within the next six hours.

Not satisfied with this response, we decided to dial 999 and spent another 15 or 20 minutes explaining the situation.

We were told that they would send an ambulance, but could not say how long this would take.

At about 11.40pm, we had a call from the crew, saying that they were on way from Boston and would be with us inside 15 minutes.

When the paramedics arrived, they talked to our granddaughter and took her temperature, which was 41.9.

She was taken straight to a&e, where staff confirmed to my wife, who had accompanied her while I stayed at home with our youngest grandchild, that she had a viral infection.

After being taken to a ward for observation, a nurse told my wife that they would have to leave by 5am as they needed the bed.

With my wife unable to drive, I would have needed to get our four-year-old out of bed and drive to Boston to get them.

Fortunately, a doctor intervened and instructed the nurse that our granddaughter was not to leave until she could eat something and keep her medication down.

My wife called me at about 11.30am to say that the doctor was happy for them to go home.

If this is our NHS at its best, what hope do we have?