A DESPERATE daughter turned to social media to source antibiotics for her elderly mother after waiting more than 24 hours for a prescription from a doctor.

Westcliff resident Emma Loxley says her mother fell ill other the New Year weekend with bronchiectasis – a  severe chest infection.

The family also feared their 88-year-old mother may have pneumonia.


“Due to her age, an exising lung condition and weakness at the time,  I didn't want her waiting on a hospital trolley in a cold corridor for hours, assuming I could have got an ambulance in the first place,” Ms Loxley explained.

“We were caught between a rock and a hard place. She needed help but I honestly don’t know if she would have made it through that.”

NHS bosses insist the best place for seriously unwell patients is hospital, despite the strain services are under due to demand.

At first the Loxley family tried to book a GP appointment, and then they tried to get a private appointment, but couldn't.

They then turned to NHS 111, where a nurse informed them the medication would have to be signed off be a GP who would call the family.

Almost 24 hours later, and following numerous chase up calls, Ms Loxley gave up and turned to social media for help.

“My mum has had this illness before, so I know what drugs she needed,” Ms Loxley explained.

“We had to use Facebook to find someone with some spare, which we used to tide us over until the Monday.”

Almost one in four people have bought medicine online or at a pharmacy to treat their illness after failing to see a GP face to face, according to a UK survey underlining the rise of do-it-yourself treatment, research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats shows

Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, the deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee in England, said: “While self-care and consulting other services such as pharmacies and NHS 111 will often be the right thing to do for many minor health conditions, it is worrying if patients feel forced into inappropriate courses of action because they are struggling to book an appointment for an issue that requires the attention of a GP or a member of practice staff.”

Health secretary Steve Barclay says he and the Government regret that the “experience” for some patients and staff in emergency care has not been “acceptable” in recent weeks.

Dr Ronan Fenton, Medical Director for Mid and South Essex ICB said: “The NHS is experiencing an extremely high demand for their services so people may have to wait longer than any of us would like for less urgent issues. We want to reassure everyone that the NHS is open, staff are working tirelessly, and anyone needing help must always come forward.” 

“It is also important to remember that prescriptions should not be shared and only used by the person that it was prescribed for”.