15th Nov, 2019

Ambulance service complaints drop

Worcester Editorial 4th Sep, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

COMPLAINTS to West Midlands Ambulance Service have fallen by more than ten per cent over the last year.

Data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed the Trust received a total of 417 complaints in 2013/14, down from 471 the previous year, despite an increase across ambulance services generally.

However, the number of compliments was more than double the number of complaints.

The Trust received a total of 972 letters, e-mails, Tweets and Facebook posts praising the work of staff, a rise of 61 on the previous 12 months.

In total West Midlands Ambulance Service dealt with a total of 967,145 emergency calls and 649,332 non-emergency journeys, meaning they received one complaint for every 4,454 patients they treated.

Sue Green, director of nursing and quality, said: “While 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.”

Ms Green said the service still had to deal with a number of emergency calls that could be treated elsewhere which led to some of the complaints.

“We have made numerous appeals for people to use the 999 service wisely but some people do still call us with less serious conditions,” she added.

“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.”

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