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Praise up and complaints down for West Midlands Ambulance Service

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: August 30, 2014

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COMPLAINTS to Staffordshire’s ambulance service have fallen by more than 11 per cent – but compliments are up by almost seven per cent.

A new report published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre revealed that 417 complaints were received by West Midlands Ambulance Service in 2013-14 – down on the previous year’s total of 471. This bucks the general trend of an increase across ambulance services.

Compliments, including letters, emails, Tweets and Facebook posts praising the work of WMAS staff, shot up in 2013-14 however to 972, compared to 911 in the previous year.

The figures come as a result of the trust dealing with 967,145 emergency calls and 649,332 non-emergency journeys, meaning the trust receives a complaint in 0.023 per cent of cases or one complaint for every 4,454 patient contacts.

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WMAS’ 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.”

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