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NHS 111 criticised following child sepsis deaths

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

NHS England has recently published a report following investigations into the death of a one-year-old boy when NHS 111 failed to recognise his symptoms. William Mead from Cornwall died in 2014 of blood poisoning. The report said that both a GP and NHS 111 had failed to recognise his symptoms, and had told William’s mother, Melissa Mead, that his condition was not serious. Mrs Mead was told by NHS 111 “not to worry”, and the report states that William’s life could have been saved if the symptoms had been treated.

Press has reported that four children have lost their lives following out-of-hours NHS 111’s failure to spot symptoms over the past few years. Three-year-old Sam Morrish and 4-year-old Chloe Welsh both lost their lives to sepsis, and in 2013 eleven-week-old Sebastian Randle died of sepsis contracted through a rare form of meningitis that went undiagnosed by the services. 

Problems with the ‘box-ticking computer script’

Investigators have suggested that the IT systems being used by operators, who have little or no medical training, are the reason that symptoms are not being recognised. Problems with the ‘box-ticking computer script’ are being blamed for the neglect.

The official report from NHS England has recommended that NHS 111 operators receive more training surrounding the questioning of patients to enable them to recognise more promptly when to escalate emergency calls.

If you have been affected by medical negligence, and are looking to claim compensation, please contact us. 


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