NHS 111 service apologises after Wiltshire woman loses her life

THE family of a Wiltshire woman who died after an NHS 111 call handler failed to correctly assess the seriousness of her chest pain have won an undisclosed payout.

Beverley Wildeboer’s husband Julio called the NHS non-emergency line in April 2017 after a pain across his wife’s shoulders spread to her chest. 

The year before, Mrs Wildeboer, of Braydon Manor, near Purton, had been diagnosed with rare condition neuromyelitis optica, causing damage to the spinal cord and eyes. 
She was wheelchair bound and, in 2005, had stent fitted after a heart attack. 

Mr Wildeboer spoke to the health advisor at NHS 111 and was transferred to a clinical adviser who asked him to go through Beverley’s symptoms again. 

He was told his wife could go to hospital or he could wait for a call from her GP. There were calls back and forth due to confusion over Mrs Wildeboer’s medical records before it was decided Julio would take her to Chippenham hospital. She was said to have felt too ill to travel.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

Mrs Wildeboer Picture: FAMILY HANDOUT

It was more than 90 minutes since the first call by the time Mr Wildeboer readied his wife to leave for the hospital. She collapsed and an ambulance was called, but paramedics were unable to save her life. 

The family instructed lawyers to investigate the care given to Mrs Wildeboer. 

Paul Sankey of Enable Law found that the NHS 111 health adviser had failed to ask the right questions after being told that she had previously suffered a heart attack, they selected the wrong option on their computer programme and the out-of-hours GP failed to obtain the medical record taken by the two NHS call handlers. 

Mr Sankey’s probe suggested that Mrs Wildeboer may have survived had an ambulance been called and the woman taken to hospital. 

Practice Plus Group, formerly Care UK (Urgent Care) Ltd, have since paid an undisclosed sum to the family, Enable Law said. 

Mr Wildeboer said: “This claim has been about highlighting the dangers involved in the remote diagnosis of illnesses and making sure no other family endures the pain and trauma we experienced.”

Mr Sankey added: “This tragic case was never about money. It was about highlighting the failings that tragically contributed to Beverley’s death and trying to ensure lessons are learned to avoid the same happening to others.” 

A spokesman for Practice Plus Group, which ran the service for the NHS, told the Adver: “We would like to pass on our condolences to Mrs Wildeboer’s family and are glad that we have been able to reach a resolution with them, while understanding that this continues to be a difficult time.  

“Whenever very sad circumstances such as these give rise to concerns we always conduct a thorough investigation to understand what lessons can be learned, even from very rare events, to ensure that we continue to run services which are as safe as possible for patients.”

The NHS was approached for comment. 

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