What we heard about health & social care in October to December 2021

February 16, 2022

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 October to December 2021 we heard over 900 pieces of feedback. We heard most about hospitals, followed by GPs, mental health services, dentists, social care and pharmacies. We also heard about other services such as opticians, NHS111 and Covid-19 vaccine centres.



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

The most common things people told us about were:

Long waits for appointments

My daughter has been waiting for an emergency appointment to see a kidney consultant for over 44 weeks. She should have been referred within 3 weeks.

Long waits at the hospital

We stayed in triage for 7 hours to be seen by a doctor. I believe there should be more quicker response for emergency cases.

Difficulties parking, including lack of availability and costs

The cost of the car park can be expensive. So we reckon we have spent £20 on car parking and that is just for 2 appointments.

Need for clearer signage when attending outpatient appointments

Better sign posting for all the departments can help patients reach for their appointments in time. I was fifteen mins late because I couldn’t find the department in time.

Praise for staff

From the time I entered to time I am leaving I was provided super care by the staff.


GP Practices

We heard about people’s experiences of 111 different GP practices.

The most common things people told us about were:

Difficulties accessing appointments via telephone

Was on hold for 27 mins to then be told no appointments available and to ring back at 2 pm. What about those who have pay as you go phones it’s not fair! This is an ongoing problem for others too.

Being unable to see a GP face-to-face

Unable to get appointments. no face to face appointments given. no blood tests available to check my diabetes, not possible to get a scan for my headaches.

Good ongoing support

1:1 support even though unable to have face to face appointments Dr has ensured she is available to discuss my concerns rather than having to reopen and retell to various Drs, she showed considerable compassion.


Mental Health

We heard about people’s experiences of 26 different mental health services.

The most common things people told us about were:

Lack of support or services

CMHT Appointments are very few and far between supposed to be every 4 months if you refer to your care plan they are more like 7-12 months apart. Sit and chat to a psychiatrist for 20-30 mins and then nothing […]. I have currently been waiting on a CMHT cancellation appointment for nearly 6 months to date.

Poor experiences being treated as an inpatient out of area, or difficulties visiting their relatives who are receiving inpatient care

Was in a mental health facility in York for ten months and then a year in Birmingham […] He feels as though he was wrongly diagnosed and has suffered as a result.



We heard about 15 different dental surgeries. However, most people who contacted us about dentists did not name a specific service as they were struggling to get an appointment anywhere.

The most common things people told us about were:

Problems accessing an NHS dentist, both for routine and emergency care

How can I register with an NHS dentist if none are taking any more patients? I cannot afford private.

Difficulties finding a dentist to do a home visit

Looking for a dentist to come out to her father’s for a home visit to replace his dentures.

Concerns about the cost of treatment

I am registered as a NHS patient dental practice been taken over by someone else they seem private oriented. I use to get a treatment on the NHS every 3 months as part of my check for gum disease. Now can’t access without doing another treatment for which you pay £40 before access. I have been going to them for 25 years and now it’s about money.


Social Care

We heard experiences about 14 different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

Concerns about the quality of domiciliary care they or their relative has been receiving

Some are alright. They frequently get my medications wrong & don’t give me my painkillers a few have told me I’m not allowed medication when I am. Carers change too often for me to know who they are.

Difficulties visiting relatives in residential facilities

Yet again the home is closed because of staff covid. This home has a very poor record.



We heard about 11 different pharmacies.

The most common things people told us about were:

Positive experiences receiving the Covid-19 booster jab

Very efficient and felt safe at the location for Covid booster.

Long waits for prescriptions to be dispensed

Left to stand for 25 minutes twice in a day for the same prescription only to be told that they hadn’t got my medication and to come back the next day.



We heard about 20 other services.

The most common things people told us about were:

Positive experiences accessing vaccine hubs

We went there for our booster covid vaccination. We found the staff and venue first class. Very well organised from start to finish. Thank you.

Difficulties accessing vaccinations when the service was very busy after the outbreak of the Omicron variant of Covid-19

I had my booster weeks ago. Really easy to book but when I tried to book my son’s it was really difficult, NHS website kept saying it wasn’t due and to contact surgery. It was overdue by 4 weeks. I couldn’t get through to the surgery, however finally managed to book him in last Monday, so relieved. All good now.


For more information please email Paul Clarke, Marketing and Communications Manager on paulc@healthwatchbirmingham.co.uk

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