What we heard about health & social care in July to September

November 22, 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 July to September 2022 we heard over 1,420 pieces of feedback. We heard the most about GPs, followed by hospitals. People are continuing to raise similar issues as in previous reports, but we have been hearing more about positive experiences of care.



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

The most common things people told us about were:

Long waits for treatment

We have a problem with the waiting times in the hospital. They have not called since last October and he has been experiencing a lot of pain. We are on the waiting list for getting further treatment.

Long waits in A&E

My mom 93 years old had a fall and went to hospital at 6 pm and was seen at 8:30 am in the morning because they had no beds it was a nightmare over there. I didn’t know where my mom was and had to call but there was lack of communication.

Costs of parking

We booked an appointment for 3pm then when we got here it was a ticketed service so we had to wait long when we could have come ages ago. The parking is not cheap we paid £6 for two hours on road side.

Issues with PALS

I have contacted PALs but heard nothing in 3 months. My mom was fine before going to hospital and once she went to hospital within two weeks she was worse.

Praise for staff

This hospital has been very good the waiting time is great. For example my husband had his operation done and everything was done on time and it was very successful. So I am very pleased with the hospital.


GP Practices

We heard about people’s experiences of 172 different GP practices.

The most common things people told us about were:

Issues booking appointments by phone

Have to phone and can’t get appointments. Kid’s won’t get seen they won’t see you unless you tell them its an emergency can’t book appointments in advance. Have to ring at 8am but can take up to an hour for them to answer the phone.

Lack of face-to-face appointments

I can’t get to see them basically they want to diagnose me over the phone. For months the GP won’t see me. The urgent care centre say’s I need to see my GP but I can’t see my GP.

Supportive staff

We always gets appointments on time lovely and friendly staff Dr is very knowledgeable and very helpful. Overall great service.


Mental Health

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

The most common things people told us about were:

Problems accessing outpatient mental health teams

Difficulty in contacting them and often unable to get through. We leave messages but they’re never returned.

We have also heard some detailed accounts from people with concerns about their experiences as inpatients at mental health units. We have signposted these people to appropriate routes to further raise their concerns and get additional support.



We heard about people’s experiences of 59 different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

Long waiting times for appointments

Don’t get appointments wanted a general appointment but takes 2 to 3 months. Emergency appointments take 2 weeks.

Difficulties accessing interpreters

I had to have an extraction but I couldn’t communicate with them, they couldn’t sign. They knew I was deaf and knew I couldn’t understand. They knew I was unhappy, it was really hard. Gestured to them that I couldn’t hear, I’m not sure they’ve sorted my tooth properly. I talked to the nurse and had an injection. They didn’t sign or write it down. They knew I needed an interpreter.

Long waits for NHS orthodontic care

My daughter was on the waiting list for braces. After 16 months of waiting we were recently informed they won’t be starting any new courses of orthodontic treatment due to a resignation. We were told we would be contacted shortly by NHS England with alternative service. Its been almost a month and still haven’t heard anything. Very frustrating and more so for a child who has low self esteem and negative body image. To be further delayed and of course not knowing exactly what is going on as there’s been no update is very disappointing. All my daughter’s friends have already started their treatments (with different providers) even though they had their assessments at the same/ similar times.

Good care for children

Really good our daughter had problems with teeth. Good with children they made her comfortable.


Social Care

We heard about people’s experiences of 23 different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

Moving relatives to another nursing home

Her family are unhappy with her father’s care. They want to move him to a home that provides better care, but have no idea how to start the process and arrange this.

Concerns about domiciliary care staff

Care staff leave a lot to be desired. Some were ok but that’s it. Staff were rough with my palliative care mother. They rarely approached her with empathy or dignity. My mother was traumatized after most visits. Call centre staff are extremely rude and no one calls back when feedback is provided.

Positive experiences of day opportunity services

I like painting and art. We also get to use the computers and take part in singing and dancing. It’s great.



We heard about people’s experiences of 38 different pharmacies.

The most common things people told us about were:

Praise for staff

Great staff in here I went in five minutes before they were about to close.it was the only pharmacy anywhere nearby that was still open but still they helped me and were very friendly and patient. they genuinely wanted to help and were very knowledgeable. I would come here again.


Emergency Care

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

The most common things people told us about were:

Long waits for ambulances

My mom was quite ill last weekend and she waited 5 hours for an ambulance. Its such a worry for everyone concerned.

Praise for ambulance staff

I can’t fault the ambulance people my husband had a stroke in March phoned 111, a ambulance came within the hour they do a wonderful job.

Positive experiences of NHS 111

You can phone them and they assess whether you need to go to out of hours or attend a badger clinic They’re really good and helpful.



People also shared their feedback about 34 services not covered in other areas, such as opticians and standalone vaccine centres.

The most common things people told us about were:

Issues around support for children with additional needs

Early intervention staff for children with down syndrome not very good. Therapy input very little from SALT and OT. The way its set up need referrals from paediatrician.

Positive experiences of opticians

They treat me well. I had my cataracts removed after I was referred to the hospital. Everything was fine after that.

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