A hospital hotline has been introduced at a West Midlands trust to respond to concerns inpatients or their loved ones may have about care. 

New Purple Points have been installed outside ward areas at Sandwell, City and Rowley Regis Hospitals, which have phones that link directly to a team of advisors.

The aim is to address concerns quickly, before the patient is discharged. The phones can also be used to compliment staff for the care they’ve given.

The move by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust comes after a survey was conducted by Healthwatch Sandwell, a health watchdog, which found patients wanted concerns resolved in a more timely approach.

The phone line will be manned between 9am and 9pm every day. There are numbers for non-English speakers to call.

Kam Dhami, Director of Governance, who is leading the project, said: “We have access to a range of patient feedback and we identified a theme through some of our complaints, and from a report carried out by Healthwatch Sandwell, that a more timely approach to issues of concern would be helpful.

“Patients will be able to use the Purple Point phone line to tell us about any concerns with their care whilst an inpatient. We will aim to get the concern resolved quickly. They can also use the phone line to report good experiences of care so that we can pass positive feedback onto the teams. The service will also be available in other commonly spoken  languages – patients just need to follow the instructions and dial the number corresponding to the language they require.

“The service is not intended to replace the many ways we already have to act on patient feedback. It is an additional option for patients or relatives who want to give a compliment or need to have an issue dealt with promptly.”

Kam Dhami, director of governance, talks about Purple Points with patient Peter Broome, from West Bromwich.

Patient Peter Broome, 65, of West Bromwich, said: “I think this initiative is really good for inpatients and their families. It’s great that the hospital is doing something like this to improve the patient experience.”

The advisors will speak to the caller about their concern and then make sure that the relevant ward staff are informed so that they can resolve issues quickly. The team, along with the ward staff will also check with the patient that they are happy with the outcome.

The phones were launched across Sandwell, Rowley and City Hospitals at the end of February.

John Clothier, Chair of Healthwatch Sandwell, said: “We fully support this new initiative which, in response to our report published in 2016, shows that the Trust listens. This will help patients, relatives and carers to have their concerns about treatment and care addressed quickly and effectively. We wish Purple Point every success.”

Non Executive Director at the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE welcome the initiative: ‘Its absolutely vital for a NHS trust operating in one of the most diverse areas in the country, to do all it can to ensure as many patients as possible feel as comfortable with the services being provided and to achieve this, we need to ensure that communication isn’t a barrier. This new service will go a long way in eradicating communication barriers between patients, their families and the outstanding staff working at the hospitals.’


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