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Mum's fears over mobile phone problem

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 March 2010

A TERRIFIED mum was left worried after having to wait two-and-a-half hours to speak to a doctor about her young child who was suffering symptoms similar to meningitis.

A TERRIFIED mum was left worried after having to wait two-and-a-half hours to speak to a doctor about her young child who was suffering symptoms similar to meningitis.

Little Sophie Holliman was running a temperature of 103 degrees, had a severe headache and was feeling sick as her mum Sharon rang and rang the doctor, only to get repeated messages saying his mobile was turned off.

She later found that Dr William McKee, of Walton Surgery, Walton High Street, Felixstowe, had been having serious problems with his mobile phone – through no fault of his own.

Seven-year-old Sophie had been feeling unwell during the day at Trimley St Martin Primary School and when she came home her mum gave her paracetemol and tried to contact the doctor.

Walton Surgery is closed on a Wednesday afternoon but an answerphone message gave her Dr McKee's mobile number.

"When I rang it, it said it was switched off. I kept ringing it and it still kept saying it was switched off – I thought perhaps it was a fault on my phone, but I had it checked and it wasn't," said Mrs Holliman.

"I kept on ringing for two hours and it was still switched off. I telephoned Felixstowe Hospital and they told me to call the Doctors on Call service, but there I got a message telling me to call my doctor!

A Suffolk Health spokesman said Dr McKee apologised to Mrs Holliman but had been suffering inexplicable problems with his mobile phone in recent weeks and a number of people had complained about not being able to get in touch.

It was always switched on 24 hours a day every day. He had contacted the network provider and changed handsets and the number but had still suffered reception difficulties.

"It is quite a worrying problem and Dr McKee is now discussing other possible solutions with the network provider," said the spokesman.

Eventually, she managed to get through to Dr McKee, who recommended that Sophie took more paracetemol.

Mrs Holliman, who also has another daughter Zoe, eight, and a son Richard, ten, said she did the meningitis checks on Sophie as the symptoms were similar to when her older sister had the illness previously.

Mrs Holliman, of Trimley St Martin, is to make an official complaint through the Community Health Council or Suffolk Health about the difficulties in getting assistance from a GP at a time of greatest need.

Anyone needing medical advice of any kind can call the NHS Direct service staffed by senior nurses at any time and they will give immediate information on what steps, medication or action to take.

WEBLINKS: www.meningitis.org.uk

www.suffolkhealth.nhs.uk

FACTFILE:

If your child is the suffering symptoms of meningitis – fever, headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, drowsiness or a tell-tale rash – then you should:

n Call your GP immediately

n If GP not available, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for advice

n Or take the child to casualty immediately to be checked by a doctor

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