What we heard about health & social care in January to March 2022

May 23, 2022

Healthwatch Birmingham listens to your experiences of health and social services in Birmingham. We use what you 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 2022 we heard over 1,800 pieces of feedback. Due to our investigation into NHS dentistry during this period, the majority of this feedback was about dentists. For other services, we heard most about hospitals, followed by GPs, mental health services, dentists, social care, pharmacies and other services such as ambulances and the Covid-19 vaccination service.



We heard about people’s experiences of 17 different hospitals.

The most common things people told us about were:

Long waits for appointments and treatments

I am on a waiting list for my left arm. Had a fall in 2019, been on a waiting list since first lockdown and am still waiting. I also have bladder pain syndrome and now being put on another waiting list for that.

Particular issues with eye checks and treatments

I am still waiting for my yearly follow up appointment after diagnosed with glaucoma nearly 3 years ago had treatment told I would need to go back every 12 months. Then covid hit and nothing. No one answers the phone

Long waits in A&E

A couple of weeks ago went with my mother and we went at 7pm and got home at 3am. She had heart problems and I was worried she would have a heart attack but they took that long. We had no food because my mom didn’t want us to leave her alone. The service provided when she met with the doctors was good but the waiting was bad.

Praise for staff

Each time I come staff always friendly & helpful, and this puts me at ease (as a expecting first time mom)


GP Practices

We heard about people’s experiences of 58 different GP practices.

The most common things people told us about were:

 Difficulties getting appointments

I have been poorly for the past 8 weeks, every time I try and make an appointment with my GP they tell me they don’t have any appointments, and my health is starting to deteriorate

Being unable to see a GP face-to-face

Telephone appointments only offered on occasions I have needed a GP. No control over timing of call back which makes a confidential conversation impossible when working. This leaves issues undealt with and prevents questions being asked. It feels akin to a telephone help line. I have come away uncertain about how to take a drug whether it is necessary and feel the only answer may be to contact a private GP.

Role of receptionists

If you are calling for a GP You should be talking to a GP only. I should not be telling reception staff why I want to see a GP Its confidential. Receptionist are not medically trained so they shouldn’t be making a decision about my health.

Praise for staff

I am very happy & pleased with them. It feels somebody is caring when you ring them. Very helpful team.


Mental Health

We heard about people’s experiences of 11 different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

Problems with inpatient care

It was the worst hospital I have been in and it didn’t help me at all. especially the staff have no experience with dealing with eating disorders and so many triggering comments were made.

Poor care from home treatment teams

I was also told that the [trust] home treatment team would be contacting me but they haven’t bothered with me

Difficulties accessing support

Never been helped or supported appropriately.



Alongside the feedback about general access to NHS dentistry gathered as part of our investigation, we also heard about people’s experiences of 14 different practices.

The most common things people told us about were:

Problems finding a dentist accepting NHS patients

At the moment there aren’t any NHS dental services in Birmingham at all.  I am disabled taking steroids which make my teeth weak, during the pandemic I have broken 2 teeth .  I am immunosuppressed this makes it likely that I will develop an abscess under my tooth. Leading to sepsis again.  All dentists I have been in touch with are willing to take me on and see me the same week as a private patient, yet say they are not taking NHS patients although they all advertise that they are taking on NHS patients.

Problems getting a timely appointment

It was very difficult that I had to suffer my dental pain for 5 days. They didn’t even gave me an emergency appointment.


Social Care

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

The most common things people told us about were:

Lack of support for carers

I’ve been trying to get my disabled son in a day care centre for about three years now he’s been assessed three times now but each time the social worker assigned to him leaves and the whole process has to be done again

Praise for staff

My mom had dementia and the staff allowed her to bring many of her personal belongings to make her feel at home and safe. They were wonderful to my mother and ourselves. They would bend over backwards to help. It was such a sad time and they put sunshine into mothers life.



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

The most common things people told us about were:

Positive experiences of Covid-19 vaccination

Went to [pharmacy] after booking an appt to have the Covid booster online. Straight forward process with no hassle or problems around having the jab.

Poor service

So having spent a total of 2 hours walking back and forth over two days I still didn’t manage to collect my prescription. Not good enough really. How are customers supposed to second-guess what times the pharmacy might actually be open?



We heard about people’s experiences of 13 other services.

The most common things people told us about were:

Ambulance waiting times

My mother in collapsed and fell yesterday she is 91 years old with health issues we phoned an ambulance at around 5 pm and it arrived at 4am next day all this time she was on the floor unable to move in pain unable to get to the toilet and all this time every time we phoned we were told the ambulance is on its way 11 hours she lay on that floor

Issues with Covid-19 vaccination records

Second dose not registered. This will cause me to lose £6000 for a wedding abroad as I can’t get proof of vaccination status to travel and resolution team don’t phone back been waiting 2 months for a call really not happy.


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

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