Harmoni criticised

A FAMILY has launched a scathing attack on Suffolk’s out-of-hours GP service after a stricken war veteran allegedly had to wait 11 hours for a doctor to arrive.

Samuel Chambers, 86, who lives in sheltered housing in Ipswich and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, became ill the day after suffering a fall.

His carer, Mandy Harvey, made a call to the service on Sunday at 4.20pm, but claimed it was not until 3.20am the following morning that a doctor turned up. The family has now filed an official complaint.

Harmoni, the GP out-of-hours service provider which took over on April 1, said it is investigating the case.

Jayne Bond, Mrs Harvey’s sister, said: “Mr Chambers, or as we know him ‘Uncle John’, is a dear member of our family, who in his difficult time in life should be treated with care and respect. We believe Harmoni has failed him.”

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Mr Chambers, who is no blood relation but is like a father to Mrs Harvey and her siblings, was admitted to Ipswich Hospital on Thursday, April 22, after suffering a fall.

He was discharged on Friday, but was found on the floor the next day after falling again. Paramedics were called to make him comfortable.

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On Sunday, Mrs Harvey became increasingly worried about him as he had not been eating or drinking. He also had a bad cough, which she suspected might be the early stages of pneumonia.

After making an initial call to the service, Mrs Harvey had phoned three times to see where they were before a doctor eventually arrived at 3.25am, by which time Mr Chambers had fallen asleep.

The GP prescribed him medication for a chest infection and told her to make an appointment with a doctor in the morning.

A spokesman for Harmoni said: “We naturally take any complaint very seriously and we have already instigated an investigation to discover the exact nature of the care and treatment provided to Mr Chambers. We would not wish to comment further until we have the results of this investigation, which we will then obviously share with Mrs Bond.”

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