NHS Direct

i am only posting this for a rant not for advice.

I have just rung NHS Direct as i have a really bad cough, and my pf is ok, and am wheezy when coughing, adn they didn't take me seriously cos i wasn't breathless and I could talk when asked questions, and they started down the track of anxiety.... which is enough to get my heckles up

20 Replies

  • I have had nothing but bad experience with the NHS direct. They have been to me about as much use as a chocolate fire guard. I had chest pain a while back and couldn't work out what it was. I have a history of pneumothorax but knew it wasn't that so phoned up for some advice. They told me to take cough medicine as my chest pain was due to my dry cough. Long story short I was in A&E rhesus an hour later receiving IV morphine for pleurisy.

    *rolls eyes*

    Tks xxxx

  • It's cos they have anxiety on their records for me!

    My cough is not subsiding.

    I just want to cry.

  • Bronnies, can I suggest that if you are feeling that bad you go to your local A&E or call your out of hours GP (calling the normal surgery number should give you the out of hours number).


  • Hi there, sorry to hear you have had a crap time with NHS Direct - I have had hassles with the Scottish version - NHS 24, when I called on behalf of a friend they managed to lose the message trying to pass it to the GP OOH centre and nobody called back. I hope you have managed to get some sensible advice from A+E or GP.

    I strongly urge people who have problems with these services to write and complain - if nobody does then they assume all is well. The GPs I have talked to about this say they aren't happy with the phone services either.

  • Hi Sarah

    I haven't been able to speak to my GP, but it has settled down a bit.


  • I was having a bad time and not sure what to do and rang the asthma uk help line and they were FANTASTIC! I know they are only 9 - 5 and asthma trained but just thought I would add it in to this discussion!

  • It's a shame the asthma helpline isn't open on an evening.


  • Which all leads you just what did you want from NHS direct when you phoned Bronnies. You were talking in sentences, your PF was OK, you were not short of breath, by your own admission. I have only called NHS direct once when I had a purple rash on my foot and up my ankle that did not blanch when pressed, with a slight fever but otherwise felt fine. I wanted to know if it was OK for me to wait to see my GP the following day or if I needed to bother the good people at A&E. They suggested I bothered the good people at A&E we never did find out what it was although some form septicemia was high on the list but not bourn out by my lack of other symptoms and blood work. Anyway that is by the by. I think people need to really know what they are expecting from NHS direct when they call. They are after all people on the end of phone they can't see you, they can't listen to your chest all they can do listen to what you say and advise accordingly. It has is place but not sure what people expect to get from it when they call.


  • I spoke to NHS direct again in the middle of the night as I was wheezy from 6pm last night. Bex Idon't mean to be rude but you are not in a position to be judging others.

  • I think as I explained via PM I was not judging I was just curious about what you expected from them. Asthma is hard enough to diagnose in person over the phone it must be a nightmare. If you are struggling it may be better rather than getting the standard answers to the questions that pop up on the computer people call their local out of hours GP service or toddle down to A&E.


  • I think it must be very difficult for nhs direct staff to make an accurate decision based on a phone conversation. I have never rang them but I know if I was concerned about breathing I'd prob head for a and e. I would imagine their checklist prob asks things like PF,wheeze,medication etc and if all appears ok there isnt much else they can do.

  • Sorry to hear of your experiences bronnie, I'm sure the staff weren't judging you when they suggested it might be anxiety, an anxiety attack is horrible and does affect your breathing after all so maybe it was a reasonable thing for them to consider

    I have found NHS direct really helpful on a couple of occasions e.g. when I was ill and phoned them, they got a dr to phone me straightaway and he came out within half an hour and next thing I knew I was in hosp with pneumonia. Whereas on another occasion I phoned about my daughter's severe stomach pains and vomiting and they were able to give me some really good advice & suggested proable food poisoning; I monitored her for a little longer and, as they predicted, she soon stopped vomiting and was ok, so I didn't need to bother the dr on that occasion

    But really as others have said, they can only advise from the end of a phone, if ever you are really worried just phone your gp or, if it can wait til daytime, phone the asthma helpline who I too have found invaluable

  • yes they are normally very helpful!

  • I've had some good experiences of NHS Direct and some bad ones. My mum called them when I had severe stomach cramps and was throwing up (and I thought it might have been blood) they got the Dr to come out and he admitted me to hospital.

    I agree about not ringing them for asthma. Everyone should have an asthma plan and follow that. If I am struggling I decide whether it is A and E or the GP in the morning depending how bad I am. My SATS are usually good when I go to A and E but they've never turned me away and I've always ended up getting a neb which makes me feel better. When I have had problems I spoke to my chest consultant and respiratory nurse and I've been given my patient number so they can get my notes off the system and a letter written by them stating my diagnosis, medication and what they would like to see happen in an emergency. Having the letter and patient number has really helped.

    I also never bother ringing them about my eyes as they have no idea, because its a long term thing I have an action plan for that as well. Now I stick to that and I'm managing both conditions as well as possible.

    I think NHS direct is good for stuff you're not so sure about.

  • I have read all your posts with interest. The suggestions to call your out of hours doctors service and that some doctors don't think this service is that great made me smile. When we call our out of hours doctors service it is the NHS direct that calls us back! However, every time I have called (about my son -not always for asthma) I have been happy with the advice. The one time I called about his asthma (we were new to his asthma and not very clued in) I found answering all the questions hard as he was only 2 and not able to explain himself... however once the nurse heard him over the phone she took charge and called us an ambulance whilst I was still trying to work out if that was necessary or not. Within 5 mins the emergency response guy was here and the ambulance soon followed with nebs. I felt very pleased with the service we received. Now we have a plan of action to follow in an attack I would probably just go right to A & E myself or just call 999 but I did want to say my experience has only ever been positive with them & with my son always falling ill or having allergic reactions over the weekends I have spoken with them A LOT!

  • out of hours service

    In short - don't bother with it! I was seriously ill at home (although at this time we didn't know just how serious) and my mum called the out of hours doctor to come and take a look. The woman on the phone explained that unless I was in the last stages of cancer or elderly - of which I am neither, I'm only 18 - then a doctor would not come out.

    As it happens, the next day I was admitted to hospital by ambulance to be kept on full life support with severe pneumonia and multiple organ failure.

    It isn't worth the risk depending on people on the phone. If you are concerned, please please please go straight to hospital or call your doctor if it is during working hours. Thanks to my mum I'm still alive as she insisted that I was taken into hospital, but someone else might not be so lucky.

    Emz x

  • Yes I had pneumonia over Christmas and NHS Direct wouldn't send a out of hours doctor to me, so saw my own gp on 2nd january (started with it evening 29th December) and he said it was pneumonia and said I should have been in hospital over New Year

  • I have to say, i've not really had any problems with NHS direct, the only annoying thing is, most of the time having to wait about an hour for them to ring back and then even longer if you then have to speak to a doctor, but i know it's cus they are busy.

    I'm sorry some of you guys have had so much trouble.


  • simple solution: if in doubt dont contact NHS Direct..either go to A&E or call an ambulance

  • yes

You may also like...