111 helpline is just a pain in the mouth

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Last Saturday morning my 13-year-old son had developed toothache. I gave him paracetamol but after a couple of hours it hadn’t taken the pain off.

I decided to ring my dentist to find out how he could be treated at the weekend. The message was short and sweet and said this is an answerphone and you can not leave a message, no details of any emergency dentists.

My only other option was to ring the NHS helpline on 111. I was told he had to have an over-the- phone assessment. After completing the questions I was told he wasn’t entitled to see a dentist and to give him ibuprofen.

It got to 4.30pm and the medication hadn’t worked, so I decided to call back.

After another assessment I was told he was now entitled to see a dentist, then told unfortunately now they are all shut.

I was put on to the nurse, who suggested co-codomal, and I went off to find a chemist that was open.

He suffered all night with excruciating pain.

I was told to phone back at 9 the next morning, so they could find him an emergency dentist.

I was told he had been referred to Dental Emergency Sheffield and would be called back in the next six hours.

I was told the dentist was open until five and my son could be sent anywhere in Sheffield.

So after the six hours I got on to them again, to be told they would phone them direct.

I explained that he was in terrible pain and they said they would call me back in the next 15 minutes.

However, there was still no call, and I had now called more than 10 times.

I asked them to phone me because the dentist would be closed at five and we didn’t know where it would be.

I spoke to a manager and he said they were very busy. At 4.55, five minutes before the dentists were due to shut, I was called by Dental Emergency Sheffield and offered an appointment on Monday – in Doncaster.

Give me strength, I can get an appointment on Monday with my own dentist.

What a waste of money, time and resources.

I would have thought a child would have been given some sort of priority as they can not take as much pain relief as an adult.

If you ever need medical advice don’t bother to phone 111, go and chat to a lamppost, you will probably get more help and at least you won’t have high blood pressure.

AM

Hillsborough