Accident woman waits six hours for doctor

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A WOMAN who blacked out and fell and hit her head has criticised an out-of-hours doctors service for failing to visit her.

Stephanie Cokeley said she was in so much pain after she fell at her home in Amberley Road, Copnor, that she thought she might die.

The 64-year-old first spoke to the out-of-hours doctor just before 9pm and said she was told she would be waiting about four hours for a visit.

She then called again at 12.30am but said the out-of-hours switchboard could not get hold of a doctor.

She finally called at 3.30am when she spoke to a doctor and was told someone could see her 'in the morning', but did not specify a time. At that point I just told them not to bother,' said Ms Cokeley.

'I had already been waiting about six-and-a-half hours. It's dreadful.

'I don't know how long I blacked out for but I hit my head on the radiator. I was in so much pain and couldn't breathe, I was fighting for air. I was scared. I honestly thought I was going to die.

'I know they're busy but I could have been seriously injured. People have hit their head before and died.'

She added: 'People have since said I should have called 999, but older people like me don't like to do that.

'We don't want to bother the emergency services unnecessarily.'

The out-of-hours service is for people who need to see a doctor but cannot wait until their surgery is open.

Solent Healthcare, which runs the service, said it cannot comment on Ms Cokeley's case because of patient confidentiality.

But Judy Hillier, director of clinical excellence and delivery at Solent Healthcare, said: 'We can assure the public that our GP out-of-hours service prioritises all calls using a triaging system that is tried and tested.

'All urgent calls are assessed by a doctor within a specific time frame.

'Patient safety is at the heart of what we do but we realise sometimes there may be challenges with the prompt delivery of the service, particularly at times of heavy demand.'