Telford gran: 'I called GP 32 times but line was engaged'
A great-grandmother said she feared she would end up in hospital after being taken ill and struggling to get through to her Telford GP surgery.
Valerie Harris claims she called Wellington Medical Practice 32 times on the morning of August 30 while the line was engaged.
She said that she was then put on hold for 45 minutes.
Mrs Harris, 76, said: "I'm quite poorly. I rang Shropdoc at 6.50am on Tuesday morning and they said to wait to call my doctors when they opened at 8.30am.
"I rang at 8.30am and the number was engaged.
"Every time I rang it was engaged until 10.45am, then after that I got through and it put me on hold for 45 minutes."
Mrs Harris added: "I told the receptionist it was disgusting, and she said 'Well, we're busy it's the day after the bank holiday' but I said 'I'm not happy'.
"I fully expected I'd end up in hospital.
"It was frustrating ringing so many times. I feel so rough."
Mrs Harris says she was waiting five hours for a call from a doctor, which eventually came at 3.50pm.
She said: "I've had this problem before. They might have been busy but that is not the answer.
"It was frustrating. When I picked the phone up once the battery had gone because I was ringing so many times."
Mrs Harris was diagnosed with a chest infection and given antibiotics.
She said: "I'm still quite poorly now, I'm in bed.
"I think it would have been better if I'd rung the hospital.
"I just think they want a big shake-up. There's been problems like this before and people are leaving.
"I'm just so annoyed – somebody could have got in touch with me and I could have had my antibiotics before that time."
Practice supervisor Debbie Bott said: "The day after a bank holiday we are always extremely busy because we're closed for a day, but she was dealt with on the day.
"Every practice is the same as us.
"We wouldn't have put her on hold for 45 minutes, the answer machine might have done.
"We are looking at upgrading our phone system, but other than that it's just human consumption, it's just how many people are trying to get through."
She added: "We are answering the phones when we can."