Tuesday, 22nd April 2014 – 2.20pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.
West Midland Ambulance Service (WMAS) has received high praise for the improvements it has made to NHS 111 (West Midlands) from one of the service’s stakeholders.
Brendan Young, Patient Representative for West Midlands Clinical Senate, visited the 111 headquarters in Brierley Hill as part of a stakeholder’s event where visitors were briefed on how performance has been improved, given an overview of how the call centre works and had the chance to put questions to senior members of management.
Mr Young admitted that some of the negativity surrounding 111 in its early days, before WMAS stepped in, had left him somewhat sceptical ahead of his visit, but his view was quickly changed when seeing the service in operation under WMAS.
“I had reservations based on the bad experiences that had been reported when the service first launched and was concerned that people would not be trained well enough to provide a safe service,” he said.
“I was, however, exceptionally impressed with how the Health Advisors assessed the patients’ needs and guided them to the best possible outcome. Importantly it was not just impressive to see the correct outcomes being reached, but also the elegant ways in which the patients were dealt with. It was a fine example of customer service.”
WMAS stepped in to take over the running of the 111 service in November, 2013, when NHS Direct withdrew from the contract. Since then, staff training has been greatly revamped and performance levels have been impressive throughout.
Mr Young continued his praise by saying: “I was 100 per cent delighted with what I saw and I don’t think anyone would have left without being impressed.
“It is remarkable how quickly West Midlands Ambulance Service has managed to provide such an excellent service and get training to such an impressive standard.”
NHS 111 Director Daren Fradgley said: “It is pleasing to know that the efforts we are all putting in to making the service the best it can possibly be are being recognised.
“The training of staff was quickly highlighted as an area we wanted to improve on after stepping in to take over the contract and the hard work being put in by everyone is now being rewarded.”
The praise comes on the back of an extremely busy four-day Easter weekend when the Trust received 21,875 calls to the NHS 111 (West Midlands) service.
Staff worked hard to ensure all calls were answered quickly and callers received a good service, despite 111 receiving 227 calls an hour on average, equivalent to a call every 15 seconds for four days.