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South West 111 NHS claims prompts early CQC inspection

William Mead Image copyright William Mead's family
Image caption The Dorset 111 call centre was criticised after the death of William Mead in December 2014 after suffering from a persistent cough

An early inspection of a 111 service centre will take place in the wake of allegations made.

It comes after an ex-senior call adviser claimed in a Daily Mail article staff at the Dorset site were apparently asleep on the job.

It comes after doubts were recently raised about the non-emergency hotline after the death of a baby in Cornwall.

South Western Ambulance Service rejected some Mail claims ahead of the Care Quality Commission inspection.

In further allegations, Ms Hayes has claimed teenagers were employed to handle calls in a bid to hit targets.

The same Dorset call centre, where non-medically trained call handlers work alongside a limited number of clinicians, was criticised for the way it dealt with calls about William Mead.

'They were exhausted'

A report on his death said he might have lived if call handlers realised the seriousness of his condition.

Whistleblower Ms Hayes, a former member of staff at the centre, said here was "frequently" no on-call clinician at the Dorset or Devon call centres, which are run by the ambulance service (SWAS).

She told the newspaper: "The nurses and paramedics we did have were so exhausted and overworked that some would fall asleep on shift.

"I was angry, of course, but I don't feel it was their fault. Put simply, they were exhausted."

Ruth Rankine, the Care Quality Commission's deputy chief inspector, said: "These allegations are unacceptable. We take them extremely seriously and are planning to carry out an early inspection to investigate."

Ken Wenman, chief executive of SWAS, said the organised "strongly refuted" a number of the allegations made in the Mail but an investigation into some of Ms Hayes' claims has begun.

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