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Wednesday, November 17th, 2021, 1:27 pm

NHS Feedback and Complaints (Manchester Feedback and Complaints Service) Responds Late — Two Days After Further Prodding — to Report of Technical and Professional Incompetence

THIS is the latest in an ongoing saga, which I hope will end as soon as possible.

I’ve already lost a lot of time this week, basically dealing with complete train wrecks here in England. As explained on Monday, I was left ‘in line’ for 4 hours (over the telephone) and a manager later admitted to me that others were having the same issue. This affair concerns a private company and I think it should be held accountable, or at the very least the NHS should be aware of what type of firms it relays patients to. WE FUND THEM! Here’s the latest in the correspondence pertaining to my complaint.

Latest

Roy:

> It has now been nearly two days and no response from them. Complaining to a department about itself is unlikely to yield positive results, as opposed to a sort of ‘coverup’, justifying one’s (in)action. The manager has already confirmed to me that the problems experienced by me affected many other people. This merit an independent investigation from the outside. The issue affects a lot of people in need of care; but they don’t want them to know this!

> The private firm is not helping; it is also not replying to an E-mail or two, so caring for people is clearly not a priority.

> Please keep this complaint (not inquiry) open at your end. It wasn’t opened in error. I very clearly asked for your address, which the boss gave, with a CC sent to the right address. The “To:” field is indicative of who would be best capable of handling this complaint.

> I shall patiently await for the response from the relevant commissioner. I think we must take such issues very seriously at these times, seeing that excess deaths have soared this year across England, based on the NHS data (about 2,000 above normal, per week).

17 November (only after ‘nagging’ for confirmation the day earlier):

Good Morning Roy,

I can confirm that we received your email. I’m sorry to hear about the troubles that you have been having when trying to get in contact with Yorkshire Health Solutions (YHS).

I can see that you copied in The Care Gateway into your emails. YHS have their own contact email which is not linked to the gateway. I would advise emailing them directly to complain about their services and awaiting a response from them in the first instance.

YHS can be contacted on the following email: info@yorkshirehealthsolutions.com

I will also forward your email over to the relevant commissioner here within the CCG so they are aware of the problems patients are facing when trying to book appointments.

I hope you are able to get a response from YHS but please come back to us should you need anything further.

Kind regards,

?????????????
NHS Feedback and Complaints
Manchester Feedback and Complaints Service
Manchester City Council
PO Box 532, Town Hall Extension, Manchester, M60 2LA
Tel: ??????? Internal: ???????
Email: ???????????@manchester.gov.uk

16 November

Roy:

> Please confirm receipt of message.

15 November

Roy:

> Att.: Companies House document/outline Source documents: Companies
> House
>
> With the NHS being covertly privatised, and services made worse
> (non-free phone numbers!), maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking that one
> spends 4 hours on the phone just trying to book an appointment, then
> failing! They should have hired more staff to answer calls!
>
> Phone the firm to book an appointment. You are then placed on a queue.
> “You are caller number 28? (that’s at 11AM, which should be quiet).
> Half an hour later: “You are caller number 20?. So one might expect
> that after about 2 hours on the phone one might be able to book
> something. 2 hours! For many homes the battery won’t even last that long (landline).
> What about old people desperate for treatment or screening? I bet the
> phone companies love this! They make a lot of money this way.
>
> So as it turns out, the estimate of 2 hours was wrong. After 4 hours
> on the line, and well over an hour being told that I am first in the
> queue, nobody picked up. I fired off an E-mail to the company:
>
> Hi,
> Do you think it is acceptable that in order to book an appointment
> (today) one needs to wait in a queue for over 2 hours? Some people’s
> phones do not even have a battery to last that long on a call.
> Please explain why you cannot hire more staff to handle calls.
> This isn’t about placing an order for a product, this is an
> essential service. Making appointments should not require the hiring
> of highly specialised staff.
>
> Did they reply? No. They cannot even bother answering calls, so why
> expect a reply electronically? They’re based near us, a walking
> distance, but of course we cannot book appointments this way.
>
> I was just about to hang up after waiting in line — for just a booking
> (over the phone) — when it was approaching 3 hours! But they said
> “first in queue”, which sounded promising. After gradually going down
> from 28 in the queue ahead of you… to just 1.
>
> As it turns out, it was nowhere near the truth; unless someone was
> holding up the line for over one hour (or 1.5 hours), there’s no
> reasonable explanation for this and they give a false sense of
> expectation. Maybe being first in line simply means that everyone
> before you gave up and decided to hang up; once I too hang up, people “behind”
> would get an illusion of advancing. Is anybody at all answering the
> phone? Imagine 30 people simultaneously being connected for hours. For
> nobody to actually serve them, only for other callers to call it quits
> and hang up the phone (as I did after 4 hours).
>
> So at this point one might ask aloud, so that’s what it all boils down
> to? Waiting for 3 weeks for a letter (after 3 calls to see a GP) and
> then waiting on the line for 4 hours in vain?
>
> No.
>
> This is where it gets interesting. After 3 hours waiting on the line I
> decided to check what sort of company we were in fact dealing with.
> Many dodgy companies continue to operate in debt, in effect being insolvent.
>
> So I decided to look at formal documents from the company, especially
> accounting-related material. ATT. documents from 2017 onwards (more
> recent first) in case they vanish in the future.
>
>
> I took just two screenshots. This is what privatisation looks like.
> I’m no bean counter, but it seems like this company can operate with
> like a million pounds, but it also cannot hire more than one person to
> pick up a phone (maybe no person at all was picking up calls; with
> privatisation there’s no real incentive to to improve),
>
> The way I’m reading the documents, they have considerable debt (see 15
> Dec 2020/”Total exemption full accounts”).
>
> My cordless phone’s battery is critically low now and almost out of
> ‘juice’. The cost of the call remains to be seen, putting aside 3
> weeks of impatience and unanswered E-mail.
>
> “4 hours is not queuing,” a friend told me, “it is having been
> abandoned. Might be appropriate for compensation or legislative
> changes to the governance.”
>
> “However,” he continued, “keep in mind the bad service is there to
> drive people to sell off stuff or borrow money to go to private
> services instead. In that way they can show increased ‘demand’ for the
> privatized services and cut the NHS further. Thus feeding a vicious cycle.”
>
> “The phone queues can be quite long,” the friend said, but not 4 hours.
> “I was waiting for about an hour the other day and that task is still
> not complete.”
>
> Well, you’d think they can hire more people to pick up calls and book;
> it doesn’t take a university degree. But as my friend put it, “the
> goal actually is miserable service levels. [...] it seems most
> everything is designed to waste time rather than be a force multiplier.”
>
> In any case, I now await further feedback, both from the company and
> from the NHS; I’m not phoning again to be placed on a queue (in vain)
> for 4 hours. This case may or may not concern me (perhaps a relative),
> but I’ve not given any details about the name/s and the nature of the
> case/s. Nor did I name anybody from the NHS and from this private firm.
>
> I understand that the system is already overwhelmed by the “Freedom Day”
> publicity stunt (purely political, placing business interests above
> national health), which wants us to assume that things are finally
> under control when in fact this year’s excess deaths significantly
> exceed last year’s, based on the official numbers from NHS England.
> However, this does not justify leaving people to wait on the phone in
> vain for half a working day. Some people do try to make a living in
> these difficult times and also keep their health checked; it’s not
> unreasonable to state this and it’s probably unfair to deny them
> moderately acceptable levels of service.
>
> Regards,
>
> Dr. Roy S. Schestowitz

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