News : Ambulance Staff to be Given Customer Service Training
West Midlands, England, August 8, 2014 -- Ambulance staff in the West Midlands are to be sent on ‘customer service courses’ if complaints made against them are upheld.
West Midlands Ambulance Service received 1,152 'concerns' raised through the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (Pals) last year, up 155 on the year before. The number of complaints were 417 complaints in 2013/14, down from 471 the year before but still higher than the 313 received in 2011/12.
Most complaints relate to the response time for an ambulance or emergency vehicle but others include matters of attitude or reports of lost property, such as walking sticks, glasses or false teeth.
Marie Tideswell, head of patient experience at WMAS, told a health scrutiny meeting at Staffordshire County Council that staff would begin attending courses from September.
"We recently implemented a customer service course so staff can attend that. There will two elements to it – an online part and a section in a classroom environment. If we have more than two complaints and they are justified then they would have to attend the course. We’ve had staff ask to go on a customer service course too. Attitude is something that can be perceived. And that’s why we say it has to be justified complaints.
Out of the 417 complaints received directly by WMAS in 2013/14, 383 have been closed and 159 were upheld. A further 149 were not upheld and 77 were part upheld.
Of the ones upheld 80 were about the response, 33 were classed as ‘clinical’, 18 were to do with call management, 17 were about attitude and conduct and seven were other. Four complaints were upheld about ‘driving and sirens’.
Twelve complaints ended up going to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in 2013/14 compared with 11 the previous year. Six were closed with no further action and two were partly upheld. One was reviewed with no recommendation. But one required an apology and a £250 ‘remedy’ be paid. Four cases are still under investigation.
WMAS also received 972 compliments in 2013/14, up on 911 the year before.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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