A pregnant mother has criticised the new NHS non-emergency phone-line after its poor service resulted in her young son spending three days in hospital.
Katrina Wiggett, from Great Cornard, called the 111 line on Good Friday when her two boys, Bryn, three, and Isaac, 17 months, fell ill.
Miss Wiggett, who is 28 weeks pregnant with twin girls, rang the service at 10.20am and as she cannot drive was told an on-call doctor would visit her home in Grantham Avenue within six hours.
“I then received a call at lunchtime saying the doctor could not come and more throughout the day saying they could and then could not, until about 8pm, by which time I’d had enough,” said the 26-year-old.
Having managed to settle the boys, when partner Simon Smith, 29, returned from work, Miss Wiggett got a call saying an appointment had been made for 11.20pm at the Walnuttree Hospital in Sudbury.
The family declined this offer as the children were in bed but went through the service again to see an out-of-hours doctor at Walnuttree on Saturday morning.
“The doctor didn’t get Isaac out off his pushchair and just said it was a virus. But although Bryn was recovering, Isaac kept throwing up, and I was starting to panic,” said Miss Wiggett.
After another call to 111, she decided to call 999. Isaac was taken to West Suffolk Hospital where he was placed on a drip from Easter Sunday to Tuesday.
“His sugar levels were very low and paramedics were surprised he hadn’t had a fit,” Miss Wiggett said.
“He had gastroenteritis, an ear infection and was dehydrated,” she said.
“I want people to be aware of this as the service caused a lot of unnecessary strain and it did not treat the children as a priority.”