Angela, a 69 year-old who regularly uses care services, often had to wait for up to an hour to get through to her social worker on the phone, resulting in expensive phone bills.
Angela contacted Healthwatch Islington because she wanted to find a way for people to be able to leave a message, rather than having to wait in a queue to be spoken to.
Healthwatch Islington carried out a mystery-shopper exercise and made 300 calls to find out how easy it was to get in touch with the social work team. They discovered that the service was struggling to handle the volume of calls they received, and that many calls were not being answered.
Thanks to Angela and Healthwatch Islington’s investigation, the Adult Social Service has transformed their telephone provision, so it’s now easier for people to contact their Social Worker.
The Adult Social Services team at Islington Council commented on the positive outcome:
“It is really good to see that there has been improvement ... We will be sharing the learning in our service managers meetings and will suggest that they implement similar measures to ensure effective call response to the public.”
Healthwatch Islington was also delighted by the result for people in Islington. Emma Whitby, Chief Executive said:
"We’re really grateful to Angela. She identified a system that wasn’t working very well, and because she shared her insight with Healthwatch, we were able to take action. Small changes can have a big impact."