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Mother's death prompts calls for 111 health number for Cornwall

By West Briton  |  Posted: October 24, 2013

By Graeme Wilkinson

  • Kyra Madsen, with her daughters Shenay and Dolcie, above, and with her father Steve Madsen, below.

  • Kyra Madsen with her father Steve Madsen and boyfriend Liam Dickson.

  • Kyra Madsen with her father Steve Madsen.

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A MAN whose daughter collapsed and died of a brain haemorrhage believes Cornwall should urgently get the new 111 NHS number.

Mother-of-two Kyra Madsen's family thought she had sunstroke when she was being sick and had a severe headache after a day on Poldhu beach.

Her father, Steve Madsen, of Lower Parc, Gweek, said he wished he had been able to speak to someone who may have advised him to get emergency help for the 26-year-old.

"We'll never know now if we could have saved her," he said. "I think if we were able to speak to someone medically-minded that evening, she could have had a scan and it would have been picked up."

Kyra, her daughters Shenay, 7, and Dolcie, 2, and her boyfriend Liam Dickson, were visiting at the end of the summer holiday when Kyra felt ill.

Mr Madsen said: "She was being sick and she said, 'I feel like I've got a tumour in my head'. I remember thinking it was such a strange thing to say.

"I decided not to call 999. In fact, I was frightened to phone for an ambulance. I've never called 999 in my life and didn't want to waste anyone's time.

"I made that decision but really I needed to talk to somebody."

Mr Madsen did call 111, the NHS non-emergency advice line widely implemented in England – but not yet in Cornwall. Instead, a recorded message asks people to call NHS Direct.

Mr Madsen added: "I've not got a landline and I didn't have enough credit to call the 0845 number. If Helston Hospital had been open, I would have taken her there, but it shuts at 8pm."

The next day, Kyra, who grew up locally, felt better and returned home to Grantham, Lincolnshire. She later collapsed and died in hospital.

"It's too late for Kyra but I don't want this happening to someone else," Mr Madsen said.

"Cornwall is a tourist area. People come here from across the country. It should have the 111 system so people can speak to someone. People don't know it doesn't work."

The devastated dad added: "She was a loving and outgoing person and she never got stressed. She doted on her kids.

"She loved coming back at weekends or holidays and we'd go sea fishing or she'd go horse riding."

Cornwall was due to have the 111 number in May but talks between NHS Kernow, the group in charge of services, and provider NHS Direct fell through.

Andrew Abbott, NHS Kernow's director of operations, confirmed the delay, adding: "During this review it became clear that NHS Direct could not deliver its contract for NHS 111 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

"We are now in active negotiations regarding implementation of an alternative service."

He said he could not give further details, but non-emergency concerns should be directed to NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

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