What have we heard about health and social care in January to March?

June 16, 2023

Healthwatch Birmingham listens to people’s experiences of health and social services in Birmingham. We use what people tell us to find out more about what’s working well, and what needs to change.

Every piece of feedback helps to improve local health and social care, and the more we hear the more impact we can have. So please share your views on the services you use and find out how your feedback makes a difference.

During January to March 2023 we received over 1,100 pieces of feedback. We heard the most about hospitals, followed by GPs. Overall we heard more positive (46%) than negative (38%) feedback.


We heard about people’s experiences of 24 different hospitals.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Cancelled appointments or treatment

Having waited for spinal surgery for almost 12 months I was distressed when my appointment for January was cancelled. I understand that this is because the service has decided to stop all admissions for elective surgery for the foreseeable future. This leaves me in considerable pain limited mobility and reliant on morphine. I cannot afford private surgery and feel abandoned.

  • Problems with discharge 

Husband had a seizure had a brain scan and was kept in hospital for 3 days. They phoned me and asked me to come fetch him and take him home. The nurse bought him out to me to the door. I then had a phone call later that day and was asked if my husband was with me as they did not discharge him.

  • Issues with communication for people with sensory or language needs

I went to A&E and there was poor communication and no interpretation service provided. It was a miscarriage (D&C) and doctor wanted to flush everything out but due to unavailability of BSL interpreter I went back.

  • Praise for staff

Very professional seen in a timely manner. Clear and concise in the information they were giving me following my Xray. They were very reassuring and patient and answer all the questions I was happy with everything before leaving the hospital.


GP Practices

We heard about people’s experiences of 145 different GP practices.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Issues booking appointments by phone

Not happy with them you cannot even find an appointment. You phone from 8am and when you get through there’s no appointments I can’t see the same doctor and there’s no continuity of care. I can’t book an appointment in advance and it would be helpful if I could as it can take weeks to get appointments. It’s frustrating.

  • Lack of face-to-face appointments

Before it used to be very good special doctor helped me. It’s changed since covid. Can’t see her face to face. I now have a new doctor and he doesn’t understand me. Went to a diabetic clinic yesterday. GP don’t want to help with exercise. Want to be able to see my own doctor and face to face.

  • Issues with communication for people with sensory or language needs

I went for appointment for my twin daughters and interpreter was not booked and I needed interpreter for myself because as a father I want to know what’s going on.

  • Praise for staff and services

Great can get appointments . See face to face. I was there yesterday. Phoned first thing for my son. Gave him an appointment within an hour.


Mental Health

We heard about people’s experiences of 18 different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Poor experiences contacting services

Struggling with my mental health, along with my physical problems. Reached out last year to a phone line and bared my soul. Told I would be helped but never heard back. I feel embarrassed and humiliated. Never again would I reach out to such a service, I suffer alone.

  • Difficulties getting correct prescriptions

I have a close friend who has been having a lot of difficulties with depression and anxiety. For nearly two years he’s been in the process of being prescribed medications, having adverse reactions to them/having them not benefit him (even after staying on them for several months), getting prescribed new and/or additional medications, going through the inevitable struggles of coming off previous medication/getting used to the new medications…and the cycle continues. All throughout this, he’s been dealing with increased suicidal thoughts and worsening depression symptoms.

  • Good experiences of care

Very happy with them. Look after her they give her a special number to call if she’s having a bad day and they will get back to her the same day. They don’t let her deteriorate they’re on top of things.



We heard about people’s experiences of 29 different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Difficulties accessing NHS dentists

The dentist has told us that they will not have a full time dentist and I have been waiting for an appointment since August last year. I ended up going to another dentist in Oct as an emergency because tooth needed a root canal but they said they could only partially do the procedure and that I would have to go to my actual dentist to have the procedure finished. When I went back they said that they couldn’t do the procedure because there would be no full time dentist there.

  • Issues with communication for people with sensory or language needs

They don’t provider interpreter at all and they expect me to bring family member. There is lack of communication between dentist and NHS interpretation provider.

  • Positive experiences of care

Really good dentist, we have no issues. My son like going, they are good with him, good availability of appointments too.


Social Care

We heard about people’s experiences of 20 different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Issues getting Local Authority support

Social services haven’t been back in touch since November, I’ve been put on universal credit and need a support worker.

  • Concerns about care staff

They either don’t turn up or turn up at inappropriate times e.g last visit at 6.30 pm following afternoon visit at 5.30pm. Have broken ornaments and milk bottles. Don’t seem to understand requests.

  • Positive experiences of care homes

Very good staff are good and approachable. Carers are lovely. I can voice any concerns and I feel listened to. She has been here since October. But happy with Mum being here and being cared for.

  • Praise for domiciliary care staff

Both care and office staff go the extra mile and any issues that have arisen have been dealt with immediately.



We heard about people’s experiences of 28 different pharmacies.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Issues getting medication

Prescriptions never ready in a timely fashion even after calling up and being told everything will be ready by a certain time upon arrival you’ll still be kept waiting for a half hour or more because it’s not ready. When they are busy you’re told they haven’t received your prescription even when you can see on your doctors system that it has been sent to them. I have been given other patients medication I have been given multiple medications differing to the strength on the prescription given random medications that I don’t need and items are missing from my prescription every month. My biggest issue with this place is that the staff do not listen to you and are extremely adept at using untruths to cover for their slow and incompetent service.

  • Praise for staff

Really helpful as helpful as can be. Tend to use them a lot as I know the pharmacist will help with what they can.


Emergency Care

We heard about people’s experiences of four different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Delays getting help from NHS 111

Had to call 111 because I couldn’t get a GP appointment. Was on hold for two hours to then be sent from the Maypole area to a surgery in Selly Oak. I was so unwell I couldn’t drive or use public transport. Had to use a taxi company which cost me £20. Was happy to be seen and treated but its a concern sending people out of their local community at their expense when we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis. Costs could prevent some people from accessing healthcare.

  • Praise for ambulance staff

Staff were brilliant. They came at really fast too. Was worried about leaving my dog but they helped me call someone to get him. Didn’t take long to get to hospital and they talked to me. I had to wait a little while once at hospital but it was fine.

  • Positive experiences of NHS 111

They’re good and I often get referred from the GP practice due to lack of appointments. I’ve used this service for my 3 year old daughter and they do help. But I would rather see my own doctor straight away rather than going through them to get an appointment.



People also shared their feedback about 19 services not covered in other areas, such as opticians and sexual health services.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Issues with communication for people with sensory or language needs

They completely failed to provide an interpreter and I am very unhappy with them and changed my service.

  • Positive experiences of child development services 

We like coming here my son enjoys it. It’s a good service and they have lots of activities on for a range of ages up to 5 years old. And it’s nice to be able to speak with other parents who children are similar ages for support and advice.

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