Apology after island man told no ambulance unless he was “not breathing”

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A Carloway man has received an apology from NHS 24 after he was told an ambulance would not be sent for him unless he was ‘unconscious or not breathing’.

Mr Macleod had called the information service when he began feeling very unwell in December last year. He had previously suffered from rigors which had resulted in a hospital admission and was requesting an ambulance as he was unable to stop trembling and was pale, cold and clammy. He was told this would not happen unless he was unconscious or not breathing.

His brother then took over the call and told the operator that he would be calling an ambulance. At that point the call handler sought advice from an NHS 24 Senior Nurse. After further discussion the Nurse agreed an ambulance should be called.

Following a complaint about the handling of his call, Mr Macleod received a written apology from John Turner, Chief Executive of NHS 24.

In his letter he stated: “Our investigation has show that your call was not managed appropriately. I offer you a full apology for this.” He said the Call Handler had not informed the Nurse of a recent condition he had suffered and and that it was inappropriate for the Call Handler to advise him that the symptoms did not warrant an ambulance.

He added: “I am sorry for any distress this caused at what I understand would have been an extremely anxious and worrying time for you.”