Thursday 28th July 2012 – 6.15pm – Murray MacGregor.
A new report shows that the number of complaints received by West Midlands Ambulance Service has reduced by over 11% while compliments have risen by almost 7%.
The data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows the Trust received 417 complaints in 2013-14; down from 471 in 2012-13. This compares to an increase across ambulance services generally.
However, the number of compliments dwarfs the number of complaints. In 2013-14, the Trust received no fewer than 972 letters, emails, Tweets and Facebook posts praising the work of staff; the figure is up from 911 the previous year, a rise of 6.7%.
The figures come as a result of the Trust dealing with 967,145 emergency calls and 649,332 non-emergency journeys. This works out that the Trust receives a complaint in only 0.023% of cases or one complaint for every 4,454 patient contacts.
Director of Nursing and Quality, Sue Green, said: “Whilst one complaint is one too many, the figure is very small compared to the number of people the Trust helps.
“Whilst we do not want to receive complaints, we very much see it as a positive. The more we are able to interact with the public and learn from their views, the better the service will become.
“As a Trust we take any comments, good or bad, very seriously. In those cases where we did not perform at the level we would hope, we regularly carry out a ‘route cause analysis’ investigation to see what lessons can be learnt.
“We have made numerous appeals for people to use the 999 service wisely but some people do still call us with less serious conditions. In many cases it simply isn’t appropriate to send an ambulance to them so we get an experienced paramedic to speak to the patient and provide advice over the phone or refer them to a minor injuries unit or their GP.
“Some patients are unhappy with this resolution, which we accept. However, for a service that is set up to deal with truly life threatening conditions and injuries such as cardiac arrests and strokes, it has to be right that we prioritise our resources in dealing with these time critical cases first.”