A university student has died from sepsis after trying 25 times to get through to a GP surgery only to be refused an appointment, an inquest heard.
Toby Hudson, 19, was unable to speak to anyone at the practice, in Weymouth, Dorset, because of a faulty phone system, so gave up and tried again the next day.
When he did get through to a member of staff he was told he could not have an appointment for at least 48 hours.
The teenager was told that due to him being registered at another surgery in his university town of Southampton, Hants, he could either wait two days to re-register or go to an urgent care walk-in centre.
He attended the centre and was seen by nurse practitioner Briony Jefferis, who wrongly diagnosed him with tonsillitis and gave him antibiotics.
Over the next 24 hours Mr Hudson‘s condition deteriorated in front of his parents who called 999 when he slipped into unconsciousness.
He went into cardiac arrest but was delayed in getting to hospital because an ambulance went to the wrong location.
Toby died on the night of July 4, 2019, two days after he had first sought help at the Wyke Regis & Lanehouse Medical Practice in Weymouth, Dorset.
A post mortem examination showed he died from multiple organ failure due to sepsis, due to infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever).
An inquest into his death in Bournemouth heard Mr Hudson had previously been a patient at the Weymouth practice.
However, when he moved to Southampton to study chemistry at university he registered at a new clinic closer to campus.
He had been suffering from a cough for around two months before he returned to his family home in Weymouth in the summer of 2019.
It was heard that Toby was suffering from swollen glands and ‘puffy’ tonsils and a sore throat when his parents told him to speak to a GP.
Giving evidence, Dr Matthew Brook, a partner at the Wake Regis & Lanehouse Medical Practice, admitted issues with the phone system due to a high patient load.
Dr Brook said: “We were having tremendous problems with our phone system which could not handle a much higher number of calls.
“We had updated the system but it was not working correctly.
“There was a queuing system but in a lot of cases people were waiting a long time and then hanging up.
“We have had a review since then and nobody recalled taking the call from Toby.”
Dr Brook insisted that the correct procedures had been followed. According to national guidelines, temporary residents should only be seen by a GP if they do not require urgent care.
He said: “With temporary residents, receptionists are told to ask whether a patient needs an urgent appointment, within 48 hours.
“If they do require one within 48 hours we refer them to the urgent care unit.
“If not, the patient is re-registered and we are then able to make an appointment.”
Mrs Jefferis said she was “not remotely worried” about Toby‘s symptoms when she examined him at the urgent care centre in Weymouth Community Hospital.
She added that he “did not show any signs of sepsis” and that his symptoms were “consistent with those of tonsillitis.”
Mr Hudson‘s father, Peter, returned home on July 4 to find him looking pale and when he helped his son to the wet room of the house he briefly lost consciousness, so he called 999.
The teenager was then taken from his home address in Weymouth to the Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, but died later that evening.
Mr Hudson said: “I felt there was no urgency. I had to press for action to be taken and for our concerns to be heard.”
He added: “We have a lot of concerns about his care.”
The inquest continues.
With Bournemouth News and Pictures