Got a problem? Who will listen?

Thursday 5th September 2013 – 11.50am – Murray MacGregor.

Ever had a problem with your health or social care and wondered if there is anyone out there that will listen.

At West Midlands Ambulance Service we are always keen to hear your views; good or bad. Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service is here to listen to your comments.

New figures show that West Midlands Ambulance Service received only 471 complaints from a total of almost 2,000,000 patient journeys.

Director of Nursing and Quality, Sandy Brown, said: “The number of complaints needs to be put into perspective. While one complaint is one too many, the rate of complaint is only 0.02%, which is incredibly low.

“The fact that we get so few complaints shows how hard staff work to ensure the quality of care we provide is of the highest standard. It is also worth noting that we received over 900 letters of compliment in the same period.”

Head of Patient Experience, Marie Tideswell, said: “We always try to ensure that the service we provide is the very best it can be. Whether you are unhappy with the way we treated you or, conversely, were especially pleased with the way our staff assisted you or your loved one, we want to know your views.

“We regularly use the feedback we get from patients to review the service that we provide, and where appropriate, make changes to the way we operate.

“Equally, our staff are always really pleased to hear when you have received a good level of service.”

You can contact us at or call 01384 246 370.

If you have views are about the wider issues that affect health or social care services, an alternative would be to contact your local Healthwatch group.

Healthwatch England is the independent consumer champion for health and social care. The national group works with a network of 152 local Healthwatch groups. In the West Midlands there are 14 local groups.

By law, those who plan and run health and social care services have to listen and respond to what the groups have to say. Healthwatch will “make sure that the overall views and experiences of people who use health and social care services are heard and taken seriously at a local and national level.”

Healthwatch also has the power to ask the health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to look at areas where it has special concerns. In addition, the organisation aims to develop new ways of engaging and informing people, especially those who sometimes struggle to be heard.

Earlier this week, eight of the Healthwatch groups in the region visited Ambulance Headquarters to find out more about what the organisation does.

Pam Jones from the Sandwell Group, said: “This was a very positive event where we were able to find out a lot of detail about how the ambulance service operates.

“We were all very impressed by the amount of data you have access to and how you use it to plan the way you respond.”

Jane Chaplin, from the Telford & Wrekin Group, added: “I was very impressed by the organisation and we all gained confidence from what we have seen and heard.

“As an organisation, Healthwatch needs to be hearing the views of the public so that we can take that back to organisations such as WMAS. This is especially important now that social care are so closely linked.”

If you want to find out more Healthwatch log onto: where you can find the group that is local to you.




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