• Barbara


I have been thinking about how our experience of a service changes as we engage and interact with it. Last week my daughter had an assessment with wheelchair services. It was her first time since our move of accessing the service. On arrival there was plenty of parking, the reception staff were friendly and approached my daughter rather than us parents, the waiting area was large (and empty). We were called in 5 minutes late, with an apology for keeping us waiting. The therapist engaged with my daughter and took the lead from us in addressing my daughter with questions. After a quick chat and a measure (whilst my daughter remained in her chair) it was decided that a new chair was required. My daughter’s discomfort for now may be alleviated with a new cushion, which was in stock!! The only real snag being that there is a 12 week turn around on a new chair, so a wait until after Christmas. The appointment was over, and we were on our way home in half an hour. A completely different experience to ones in our previous area.

On leaving we were given a feedback questionnaire to complete. Now here’s where the reflection came in. Prior to this appointment we had waited 6 months since referral for the appointment. I had to call and confirm the paperwork had been received after checking with the referrer that the request had been sent. A series of phone calls over a 4 week period began regarding who the previous Health Authority was, contacts for said service and additional details so that records could be transferred. The contact information I found on Google, why couldn’t the new authority do that? So my views on the service at this point would not have been so positive had I completed a questionnaire then. However, because our face to face experience had been so unexpectedly good, I had ‘forgotten’ that the initial contact was poor and the wait lengthy. So my comments on the form may have been through slightly ‘rose tinted’ glasses.

The cynic in me wonders if it is known that the face to face part of the service is the best performer and so gains your feedback at that point. My daughter is yet to receive her new chair and so we do not know how good, or poor, the remainder of the service will be.

So does our views on our experiences of services change? I was sceptical prior to attending the assessment that the wheelchair service would be good, was pleasantly surprised and so told every one how good it was, it took a friend to point out, that 3 months earlier I had been complaining about the same service being poor. So from my perspective clearly it does.

I now would like to retrieve my feedback questionnaire and add my points and reflections to the form, such a shame this is not a possibility. I can only hope that when my daughter receives her new wheelchair we are asked to complete another questionnaire, and that in all the headiness and excitement of a new chair, I don’t forget how our first interaction with the service was.


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