Mother dies while waiting on phone for GP appointment

·2 min read
Mother dies while waiting on phone for GP appointment
Mother dies while waiting on phone for GP appointment

A mother-of-two died suddenly while "waiting on the phone for nearly two hours for a doctor's appointment", her family has claimed.

Relatives allege that the popular baker Helena Maffei - described as "the soul of Kidderminster" - was trying to get a GP appointment for breathing difficulties when she collapsed at home in front of her 28-year-old son.

Paramedics arrived and gave the 55-year-old CPR but were unable to save her on Thursday morning and she passed away.

Her death comes amid a national outcry for GPs to return to offering face-to-face appointments again now that lockdown has ended and society starts returning to normal.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid called on GPs to offer "face-to-face access" in the Commons earlier this week.

Daughter Gaetana Maffei, 30, from Stourbridge, said: "Mum had been having health anxieties and so was trying to get an appointment as she was feeling breathless, but was hanging on the phone from 8.30am to 10.15am trying to get through.

"Her phone battery died during the call and she had to ring back and get in line again.

"She got through, just as she collapsed and the receptionist was saying a doctor could call her back at 11.30am.

"My brother Giuseppe rang the ambulance and was giving her CPR and the paramedics did too when they arrived, but it was too late.

"It's a real shock for the family. She passed away in my brother's arms and it is just the saddest thing.

"My mum put all her trust in the doctors but there seems to be no urgency with them. The GP surgery put you on hold for ages and that feels useless."

Church Street GP surgery's phoneline has a recorded message that due to reception staff self-isolating, there will be delays to answering calls.

It adds that the surgery is "currently experiencing high levels of calls" and says that "if your condition is life-threatening or a medical emergency" to redial 999.

Speaking on behalf of the GP practice, a spokesperson from Wyre Forest Health Partnership said: "As is usual in General Practice we do not comment on individual patient cases, however we will always speak with patients, their families or representatives and investigate with them, where there are concerns or complaints.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

"The surgery is one of five practices which make up the Wyre Forest Health Partnership.

"So whilst the surgery did lose team members on Thursday due to a Covid positive result, they were immediately replaced with experienced staff from our other practices."

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