A seriously-ill woman has said she felt ‘unwanted’ after waiting 11 hours for out-of-hours treatment that never arrived.
Eileen Rainbow, 83, from Glebe Way, Lancing, suffers from lung disease and emphysema which leave her struggling to breathe.
After a severe attack on Friday night Mrs Rainbow said she thought she was on her deathbed. Her grandson Wayne Rainbow, 35, managed to calm her down but they didn’t sleep, he said.
On Saturday, Mrs Rainbow’s breathing was still worse than normal so her grandson called 111 at 2pm to ask if someone could come to their house and check her condition.
According to Mr Rainbow, the operator said they would put her on the priority list and at 4pm a GP called back and assessed her over the phone.
She couldn’t speak at all, Mr Rainbow said, and the GP indicated it could be up to six hours before they arrived.
At 8pm and 10pm, Mr Rainbow said he called 111 again for updates and the operator reportedly said they would get another out-of-hours GP to call back.
After a final call at 1.30am Mr Rainbow said the pair ‘gave up’, particularly as they hadn’t slept the night before.
His grandmother said: “I was just so tired. I felt very upset.”
Mr Rainbow added: “She felt like she was unwanted and no-one cared.
“I would have called the ambulance but they have got a lot of duties to worry about, like emergencies, and I didn’t want to waste their time.”
Mr Rainbow gave up his job as a railway worker a few years ago to become his grandmother’s full-time carer. Mrs Rainbow had three children who all died from cancer.
A spokesman for IC24, the care provider which delivers out-of-hours treatment, said: “We were very sorry to hear of Mrs Rainbow’s experience very recently. However, we are unable to comment further whilst we formally investigate this matter.”
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