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Improvements made to complaints

PUBLISHED: 19:04 04 February 2002 | UPDATED: 15:25 03 March 2010

COMPLAINTS against the attitude of ambulance staff have prompted bosses to improve the way they are dealt with.

East Anglian Ambulance Trust chief executive Dr Chris Carney, said at the Trust's board meeting: "The complaints system was at times unresponsive and some managers felt someone else should deal with complaints.

By Tracey Sparling

COMPLAINTS against the attitude of ambulance staff have prompted bosses to improve the way they are dealt with.

East Anglian Ambulance Trust chief executive Dr Chris Carney, said at the Trust's board meeting: "The complaints system was at times unresponsive and some managers felt someone else should deal with complaints.

"But this year we have been dealing with them within the required time, and will start to inject the results back in to the system to change things.

"There were a few complaints about lateness, but attitude was a main reason and all A&E staff are being trained in customer care."

He said complaints and commendations will now be reported on – as they used to be – on a monthly basis.

Dr Carney said: "We have double the number of commendations as we do complaints, and recent months have seen an increase in commendations."

There were a total of 16 complaints in December 2001, including three about attitude and six about transport, compared with a total of 12 in December 2000 -when attitude was never mentioned.

But Dr Carney added: "There has been a slight increase in complaints during December, and this was a particularly difficult month in terms of the pressure created by volume of calls and the implementation of our new computer system.

"I am fairly confident this is a blip, due to the other events we had happening in December."

He added that in future the ambulance service will only report formal complaints, like other ambulance trusts do, rather than including informal complaints in the tally.

Dr Carney said: "This will make it a level playing field."

Non executive director Heather Marsden added: "Complaints are a learning opportunity, not a chance to point the finger and say to somebody 'don't do it again' because that person is the least likely to make the same mistake again."

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