You Said, We Did – Escalating patient concerns about a primary care service

October 13, 2016

After reviewing feedback received through our online Feedback Centre, Healthwatch Birmingham escalated concerns about a specific service with the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Care Quality Commission (CQC).Icon
Over a couple of months we received feedback from patients and members of the public about a Birmingham GP practice. They shared the following:

  • Getting a GP appointment is very difficult: more than one reviewer shared that patients are finding it very difficult to phone the practice, with calls not being answered. They told us that they struggled to get through to speak to receptionists, and when they did there were no appointments available.  This has implications for their longer term health and wellbeing and trust in the practice.
  • Patients are not being called back as promised: people sharing their experience of phone appointments at the practice told us that they did not receive calls back from a doctor or nurse practitioner.  Patients may resort to on-line sources accessing inappropriate care or medication, which could put their health at risk.
  • Patients experienced a lack of dignity and respect: multiple reviewers reported to us that as patients they experienced poor or negative attitudes from doctors and practice staff. They told us they felt like they were treated with contempt and felt unsupported at a time when they needed guidance.
  • Delayed diagnosis and referral: several patients told us that they had received a delayed diagnosis for a health issue, which led to a lengthy wait for a referral for specialist treatment.  This delay can lead to unnecessary worry and self-management of distressing symptoms.
  • Patients, in more than one review, said they are looking to move to other GP practices as a result of the poor care and treatment they have experienced.

As a result, Healthwatch Birmingham shared these issues with the commissioner of this GP practice. The CCG recorded these patients’ concerns on their intelligence system.  This will be taken into account in future reviews or inspections of this service. We also notified the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of the patients’ feedback. Healthwatch Birmingham will continue to monitor patient feedback we receive, track any changes and raise any further concerns if needed.
A key part of Healthwatch Birmingham’s role is to understand the collective trends in people’s experiences, and to feed this back to health and social care services. If patients and service users are consistently telling us negative experiences, we make it a priority to escalate, where appropriate, to commissioners or regulators.
Patient’s direct experiences of specific services can be important indicators of care quality. Taking the time to feedback – whether positively or negatively – enables Healthwatch Birmingham to hold providers to account and monitor improvements.

Your voice counts

Healthwatch Birmingham want to hear about your experiences. You can feedback about local health or social care services by:

  • Visiting our Feedback Centre here and give your review of a specific service.
  • Call our Information and Signposting Line on 0800 652 5278 / 0121 636 0990.
  • Email us at
  • Look out for us at community engagement events in your area.

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