THE number of complaints received by West Midlands Ambulance Service has reduced by more than 11 per cent.

Data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre shows the trust received 417 complaints in 2013-14, compared to 471 in 2012-13.

This works out to one complaint for every 4,454 patients.

However, the number of compliments has risen by 6.7 percent - between 2013-14, the service received 972 letters, emails, tweets and Facebook posts praising the work of staff.

Director of nursing and quality, Sue Green, said: “Whilst one complaint is one too many, the figure is very small compared to the number of people the trust helps.

“Whilst we do not want to receive complaints, we very much see it as a positive. The more we are able to interact with the public and learn from their views, the better the service will become."

She continued: “As a trust we take any comments, good or bad, very seriously. In those cases where we did not perform at the level we would hope, we regularly carry out a ‘route cause analysis’ investigation to see what lessons can be learnt.

“We have made numerous appeals for people to use the 999 service wisely but some people do still call us with less serious conditions. In many cases it simply isn’t appropriate to send an ambulance to them so we get an experienced paramedic to speak to the patient and provide advice over the phone or refer them to a minor injuries unit or their GP.

“Some patients are unhappy with this resolution, which we accept. However, for a service that is set up to deal with truly life threatening conditions and injuries such as cardiac arrests and strokes, it has to be right that we prioritise our resources in dealing with these time critical cases first.”