Via the Evening Times in Glasgow: Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey: 'No medics available when I called NHS helpline'. Excerpt:
A Scottish nurse who contracted Ebola while volunteering in Africa has revealed that she was not put in touch with a medical professional when she called the patient helpline NHS 24 after spotting symptoms of the virulent disease.
Pauline Cafferkey said that she had to arrange her own admission to hospital through a friend after only being able to speak to a call handler who could not provide professional advice.
And the 40-year-old, who was hospitalised three times as she fought the deadly virus, faced the same scenario when she later contracted meningitis, delaying her treatment for 24 hours and leaving her in agony.
This was despite showing all the classic "red flag" symptoms of the disease, such as neck pain and sensitivity to light.
Ms Cafferkey, from Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, contracted Ebola while volunteering during the outbreak in west Africa in 2014. Speaking to the BBC, she described how NHS 24 had not picked up on the seriousness of her situation.
She said: "I had a fever, that was the first thing. I woke up with chills. I was shaking and checked my temperature and it was very high.
"I phoned NHS 24, [using] the 111 number ... but I was just dealt with by a call handler. For some reason they did not have a nurse manning the phone and it wasn't escalated.
"I just ended up that I was in contact with one of my friends and she arranged my admission to hospital. NHS 24 weren't a great deal of help at that point."
She added: "It's a real shame because I think the important thing is that when things go right in the NHS you should shout it from the rooftops.
"But I didn't have a great experience with them."
Ms Cafferkey spent almost a month in an isolation unit at London's Royal Free Hospital before being discharged, but became ill again in October last year and was treated for meningitis caused by Ebola.
However, she said that vital time was lost getting her to hospital because NHS 24 again failed to recognise her symptoms.
She said: "When I had the meningitis and I called with many red flag symptoms, like I told them I had a severe headache, neck pain, I was sensitive to light and I was vomiting.
"Again, it wasn't escalated. I didn't get to speak to a nurse or a healthcare professional for some reason."
She described her battle with meningitis as worse than her fight with Ebola, saying that she suffered the most painful headache of her life and that at one point she asked doctors to drill a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure.
However, she said that she was unsure if her case was made worse by the initial delay.
The nurse said: "With meningitis everyone knows you need to act very fast and for me it was a good 24 hours where I didn't receive treatment.
"Even on the flight down to London it was that severe I was suffering fits and had a seizure. But you have no way to say that my outcome could have been better had I got treatment 24 hours earlier."