Romford woman gets ambulance, paramedic, ECG scan - after complaining of diarrhoea

Brian and Rosemary Relf

Brian and Rosemary Relf - Credit: Archant

NHS workers sent an ambulance and a team of paramedics to a woman’s house after she complained of diarrhoea.

Brian Relf, with ECG scan

Brian Relf, with ECG scan - Credit: Archant

The bizarre episode even saw staff wire 54-year-old Rosemary Relf up to an ECG scan before finally accepting she didn’t need to go to hospital.

Rosemary and her husband Brian allege the NHS 111 call operator asked whether Rosemary had chest pain.

Brian said he had replied that his wife suffered from chronic angina, which was being adequately managed and wasn’t currently bothering her.

But nothing the couple could say would persuade the operator that Rosemary didn’t need an ambulance – and so one turned up 15 minutes later.

To complicate matters, the group that runs the service has no record of calling an ambulance.

Brian, 49, said it was “just crazy”.

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“For them to react like that is totally ridiculous,” he said. “There could have been someone with a bigger need.

“I told them she had diarrhoea and they started asking if she suffered with chest pains.

“She does, because she’s got angina and heart disease – that’s why she’s registered disabled.

“I said: ‘That’s not the problem – diarrhoea is the problem.”

“I had an ambulance crew and a paramedic in a car turn up before the doctor came seven hours later about her diarrhoea – by which time we’d gone to bed.

“She went into the ambulance and had an ECG. What’s that got to do with diarrhoea?

“If everyone with diarrhoea in this country got an ambulance, there wouldn’t be any left to deal with urgent situations.”

London Ambulance Service (LAS) confirmed that they were called to the Relfs’ home at about 2.25pm and arrived within six minutes – but said the call had come through 999 rather than 111.

LAS couldn’t confirm who had placed the 999 call but Brian and Rosemary insist it wasn’t them.

A spokesman for the Partnership of East London Cooperatives, which runs NHS 111, said: “We did not call an ambulance in this case. We will continue to look into the circumstances.”