Fury over phone consultation for poorly child’s pain

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THE MUM of a three-year-old girl is furious she wasn’t allowed to see a GP after her epileptic daughter fell ill.

Kathryn Butcher said it was unacceptable that she was instead directed to a nurse practitioner for advice over the phone, instead of being able to see a doctor in person the day after little Kaitlyn became ill.

Kathryn Butcher, 30, with her daughter Kaitlyn Butcher, three. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (160458-5056)

Kathryn Butcher, 30, with her daughter Kaitlyn Butcher, three. Picture: Sarah Standing (160458-5056)

And rather than wait more than a week the Lake Road Practice in Portsmouth said it would take for a GP appointment, Kathryn took Kaitlyn to the minor injuries unit at St Mary’s, despite considering it a waste of their time.

Kathryn, 30, of Buckland, said: ‘I was told the new system means she would have been passed on to a nurse practitioner.

‘I’m no doctor but I fail to see how they can diagnose something like an ear infection over the phone.

‘It’s just not good enough, when really, it’s a GP problem.

I’m no doctor but I fail to see how they can diagnose something like an ear infection over the phone

Kathryn Butcher

‘I shouldn’t have to waste the minor injuries unit’s time with something relatively trivial, when they’re there for more serious cases.’

Staff at St Mary’s found Kaitlyn had an ear infection, which has since spread to the her other ear. Since then, she has also been to the Lake Road Practice.

But Kathryn said she couldn’t believe that nurse practitioners were being used for phone advice.

Lake Road practice manager Helen Burch said: ‘The triage system that we use has been up and running since last August and was introduced following close liaison with our patients, particularly our patient participation group.

‘Many other GP practices have similar arrangements.

‘Previously all calls were answered and assessed by receptionists.

‘Now all calls are added to a triage list and a combination of GPs, nurse prescribing practitioners or physiotherapists call a patient to assess their individual case and signpost them to the most appropriate healthcare professional for their individual needs.’

Ms Burch said the nurse practitioners were fully trained and could prescribe medication.

She said: ‘But if one of our nurses thinks, having spoken to a patient, that that patient would be better served by speaking to a GP then that would happen.’