111, for those that don’t know, is the replacement service for NHS Direct: a free telephone service you can ring when you’re a bit poorly. Not poorly enough to go to A&E but poorly enough that you don’t want to wait for an appointment with your GP.
111 and NHS Direct differ in just one way: their flowcharts. One always concludes you should go and see your GP, the other always suggests you should go to A&E.
This is annoying because the whole point of ringing either service is to avoid, if at all possible, visiting a busy GP or A&E department.
Anyway, I rang 111 just before 8 this morning – still coughing and wheezing as I have been since the weekend. Lo and behold: you should go to A&E.
So I did.
A&E were great – probably helped a little by the fact that 9am on a Thursday isn’t, traditionally, their busiest time. A very nice nurse swiftly triaged me, sighing heavily at my story of being led here by the holy flowchart of 111.
I was seen – twice! – within less than 30 minutes; diagnosed with a chest infection, given some antibiotics, and sent on my wheezing way.
The effects shouldn’t be evident for a day or two yet, but I’m already feeling quite a lot better. Which is annoying because tonight I was supposed to be going to not one but two parties, wishing farewell to some old work colleagues. But my chest infection and antibiotics have put paid to that. 😦