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Suggested Scrapping of NHS 111 after baby sepsis death

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

It has been suggested that scrapping the NHS 111 health helpline should be considered according to an organisation representing local GPs. This is following the shortcomings leading to the death of one-year-old William Mead who died from undiagnosed blood poisoning (sepsis) in December of 2014. After visiting her GP several times, who also did not recognise the seriousness of William’s condition, William’s mother, Melissa Mead called the NHS 111 helpline during the weekend. 

His life could have been saved

The call handler, who does not necessarily have any medical training, input a series of answers to questions to a software package, and decided that Mrs Mead had nothing to worry about. William, who had been suffering from a long-standing chest infection, died just hours later. It was stated that his life could have been saved if he had received the proper care.

Local GP and secretary of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland medical committee, Dr Saqib Anwar, acknowledged that the “less than optimal service” should be replaced by an “adequately resourced, clinician led service”. He went on to add that as many people with illnesses differ in their presentation of illness, errors would undoubtedly occur in the current system. 

A member of the Leicester Mercury Patients’ Panel, Zuffar Haq, called for adequate GP cover in walk-in centres, urgent care centres and in the NHS 111 service. He said: “It is essential there is the appropriate skill mix and specialist paediatric advice”.

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