Derby

Mum called NHS 111 helpline 23 times before death

Anne Roome Image copyright family handout
Image caption Anne Roome, 68, was found dead at her home in Derby, where she lived alone

A review has been launched after a woman died at home alone despite repeatedly calling the NHS 111 helpline for assistance.

Phone records show Anne Roome called 23 times in the hours before she died, although it is not clear how many times she got through to an adviser.

111 advisers can arrange ambulances in emergencies, but they did not send one to the 68-year-old's home in Derby.

Derbyshire Health United said the circumstances were "unfortunate".

'Heartbreaking'

Mrs Roome's carer found her dead, from bronchopneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, on the morning of 17 June.

The calls to 111 began at 18:35 BST on 16 June and continued overnight into the early hours of the morning.

Her daughter, Rebekah Burgess, said it was distressing to think of her mother dying alone without any help.

"To think my mum, who brought me up and cared for me for so many years, actually tried and failed to get somebody to help her when she needed it, I don't really know how to feel, it's heartbreaking," she said.

"I'm wondering what sort of death she had."

Ms Burgess, who lives in New Zealand, initially thought her mother had died "peacefully".

She only found out about the calls to 111 when she looked through her mother's mobile phone a few weeks later, when she was in the UK.

Image copyright family handout
Image caption Rebekah Burgess said it was "heartbreaking" to know her mother had died alone

Derbyshire Health United has since provided Ms Burgess with a CD of the voice recordings made by her mother.

Ms Burgess does not know what her mother said in the calls, as she has been too upset to listen to the CD.

"I don't want my last memory of my mum to be of her distressed, trying to get through to someone who's actually going to help her," she said.

"Even if she was going to die that morning, surely she should have had someone there to hold her hand."

Pauline Hand, operations director for Derbyshire Health United, said: "Derbyshire Health United are aware of the unfortunate circumstances of this isolated incident and wish to extend our sincere sympathy to Mrs Roome's family.

"We have launched a serious incident review into the death of this lady, and are liaising with the Care Quality Commission and NHS commissioners.

"We have also requested an independent review surrounding the circumstances into Mrs Roome's death."

Derbyshire Health United said it could not provide any further information due to a pending inquest.


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