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

March 23, 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 October to December 2022 we received over 1,300 pieces of feedback. We heard the most about hospitals, followed by GPs. 



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

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Long waits for treatment

Daughter has only seen a paediatrician once and I’m waiting a long time for an appointment. She was meant to have an appointment back in October I got in contact with them and they said there’s a long backlog to get an appointment.

  • Long waits in A&E

So yesterday my 4 year old grandson who was diagnosed and treated with steroids for croup on Friday waited in a queue on 111 for over 10 hours their position never altered in all that time. So eventually mum and dad took him to A&E where they waited for over 6 hours he had a temp of over 39. Which no medication was touching. Eventually they came home as mum was told they still faced another 6 hours to see a Dr. Apparently patients were seated on the floor helping each other – as medical staff were completely overwhelmed.

  • Issues with communication 

Had breathing problems, they haven’t seen me in 2 years. I called them and I’ve left voicemails, they didn’t give me my test results from when I last went. A year went past and I went in a month ago to find out what was going on. I spoke to the respiratory team in the hospital, and they said they would call but haven’t called me or given me the information I need.

  • Praise for staff

Really good really positive. From the staff to the efficiency really really good. During my appointment they put the radio on for me. They answered all my questions and they were really respectful of personal privacy. The appointment wasn’t with my consultant but he came over to me and asked if I was okay before I went in for my appointment and asked if everything went okay after my appointment.


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

Can’t get through to them. Spend ages and ages trying to get through and when you do, there’s no appointments left. Have to try everyday at 8:30am. Get a message to say surgery is closed and then its engaged for 45 minutes.

  • Lack of face-to-face appointments

They’re not very good they don’t see people face to face. They do a lot over the telephone. Needed to see people face to face to be able to gauge how someone is feeling so they can talk to you about other things.

  • Difficulties accessing appointments leading people to use other services

I called the doctors for an appointment for my back ache as I was in a lot of pain I called to get an appointment and I could not get through on the phone so I walked down to the surgery and they said there were no appointments for 6 weeks even though I begged them. I then ended up going to the hospital as I was in that much pain.

  • Problems getting appointments for children

Not happy with the service struggling to get to talk to someone about daughters development. Feel like I’ve been fobbed off with daughters bowel issues.

  • Caring and supportive staff

GP is supportive they were great in getting us referred to the hospital. Can call them and get the help I need.


Mental Health

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

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Poor experiences as an inpatient or with follow-up care

I do not think a 30 minute appointment is enough for me to talk about my past traumatic stress. I was an inpatient for 10 days then they discharged me to the doctor and told me to get support from them. Not happy with the medication they’re given me but if I do not take them I will be sectioned and I do not want that. I don’t know why they’re putting in this medication.

  • Poor communication from services

They have a phone line, but it’s terrible. There are not enough operators, the queue is always very long, and the staff aren’t very helpful anyway. They are not able to give you much information or help, they always say “”i don’t know””. Many times they’ve given me wrong information which led to my referral being delayed. Also, different staff members gave me contradictory information each time I called up. 



We heard about people’s experiences of 44 different services.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Difficulties accessing NHS dentists

I have been trying to register in any of the surgeries in my area and none is willing to register me and I have been having pains on several teeth which has affected my sleep pattern for over 7+ months.

  • Long waits for NHS orthodontic care

They referred our daughter to an orthodontist in 2020. Referred to [service] and said she would need see a specialist. Different services are not talking to each specialists because baby tooth would need to be extracted. Been backwards and forwards.

  • Positive staff attitudes

Very good and professional. Dentist explained everything very well.


Social Care

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

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Concerns about domiciliary care staff

They charge for the full hour yet barely stay for 10 minutes. They frequently leave a vulnerable elderly woman alone without letting anyone know they will be late.

  • Praise for staff

I have loving carers that I wouldn’t know what I would do without them. They are all so caring and passionate with what they do. I love them all very much and is very grateful for the excellent service they provide me. I could not say thank you enough to them.

  • Positive experiences of day opportunity services

I come three times a week. I like doing drawing and colouring. I like meeting people here at the day centre.



We heard about people’s experiences of 32 different pharmacies.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Long waits for medication

Having problems with communication between pharmacy and doctors. It should take 24 – 48 hours but it takes 5-6 days. Doctors delaying prescription and pharmacy cancelling it.

  • Praise for staff

Even during busy times the staff will do all they can to help you. Pharmacist will take time to explain anything you are unsure about. Health questions are answered and they have reduced the need to make a GP appointment.


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

I waited 4 hours for an ambulance when my gallbladder flared up. They didn’t come they normally come within the hour.

  • Praise for ambulance staff

They’ve come to us three times. They were nice kind and helpful. Took my son to hospital.

  • Positive experiences of NHS 111

Doctor tells me to get in touch with the NHS 111 service because they have no more appointments. I ring 111 and they put me in touch with the out of hours. They give me a ring and it’s a lot quicker than seeing my own doctor.

  • Problems accessing NHS 111

Too long I find that you’re just hanging on the line because they’re too busy. And you don’t get the help that you need.



People also shared their feedback about 28 services not covered in other areas, such as opticians and standalone vaccine centres.

The most common things people told us about were:

  • Issues around health visitors and other child development services

1 year check up no one got in contact with me I was waiting 3 and a half months for the health visitor to contact me. No one has been in contact with me to have a general how is everything getting on.

  • Positive experiences of opticians

They are lovely. Can get appointments quite easily and they explain to me what’s what.

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