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Mum praises Cornwall’s 111 service

A mum who called 111 has described how the service saved her from dashing the poorly toddler to the emergency department.
Katherine Shortt, of Camborne, has heaped praise on NHS 111 after contacting the service, which provides urgent health advice, concerned about her daughter, Amber.

Her words come ahead of the late spring bank holiday on Monday 31 May, and health and care services asking people to use the right service during the long weekend.

People are reminded that their own GP is the best first port of call but when their own GP is not open and it’s urgent – but not an emergency – or you simply don’t know what type of care you need, it’s best to call 111 or visit

Amber, 3, who suffers from severe ongoing croup, had been home from hospital less than 24 hours after suffering such a bad attack that she started choking, couldn’t breathe and her lips turned blue.

Katherine, 39, said, she and her husband John, were both terrified.

Amber with her father, John Shortt

The mum-of-five said: “It was the worst attack we’d ever seen. We dialled for an ambulance who arrived in 6 minutes and she was given an inhaler and steroids and took her to the hospital. It was very scary, and we were panicking.”

Paramedics were able to treat Amber at her home but because of her young age took her to Royal Cornwall Hospital for a precautionary check by the hospital’s paediatric team.

At the hospital it was discovered that little Amber had also suffered an asthma attack alongside the croup, which had caused such a severe attack.

She was given a thorough check-up and monitored before little Amber was well enough to leave the hospital.

But back home, Katherine said the events of the previous night continued to play on her mind and Amber still didn’t seem quite her usual self.

She said: “Normally she gets her bounce back after she has had the steroids but this time that didn’t happen. I began to panic and started to go through what if it happened to Amber again and how we might not be so lucky the second time. I was extremely scared.”

Katherine, who works at Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, dialled 111 and “an absolute angel” called Katie, a 111 clinician, called her back.

“Myself and John was so worried about Amber and if it hadn’t been for Katie and the whole of the 111 team, I would not have made it through the night and driven her straight to the emergency, even if had meant I had to sit in the car park all night.

“They saved an admission when the emergency department is so busy.”

Katherine admitted she was “very emotional” when she spoke to Katie.

“Katie was absolutely brilliant; she was calm, took me through all the scenarios and each point step by step but without the feeling that I was being spoken down to. Katie was relatable and supportive.”

Amber’s condition means that she regularly receives a prescribed medication through her doctor, which the family had run out of.

“Katie was very appropriate and sought the correct advice from another clinician before arranging the prescription.”

The 111 clinician even went the extra mile and tried to arrange for a smaller dose to make it easier for Amber to take the medication.

And when it wasn’t available, took a further call from Katherine with less than an hour before the pharmacies closed and organised for another prescription to be sent to a different pharmacy immediately.

She added: “I am really glad to have spoken to Katie and the 111 team, they were able to provide the reassurance, clarity and medication, which meant I felt our daughter could remain safely at home without needing hospital care.”

Visit or call 111 any time, day or night, if it’s an urgent, but not life-threatening condition such as a fractured bone, sprains, and burns, or when your GP surgery is closed, and you cannot wait until it re-opens.

Amber Shortt

Added on 24 May 2021, in News - Choose well

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