NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

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NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby eliznew412 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:53 am

I was shocked to find my mobile phone bill had shot up after just 2 phone calls on the NKF helpline. This really spurred me on to write to their CEO. I explained how I had received poor customer service when requesting figures for the amount collected in the raffle ticket sale e mails not arriving. I also explained the lack of empathy on other occasions and a more serious issue regarding advice to my son from an executive member some time ago. Overall this left me with a poor impression of the NKF. The reply I got was worrying in that I have it in writing from the CEO that the volunteers are not answerable to the NKF. There was no suggestion of even any basic training given to the volunteers.

Callers should be aware of the possible 55p a minute charge (I'm with O2) if ringing the helpline from a mobile phone. I stated that this was unethical. Just imagine a distressed renal patient, desperate for advice and not wanting to be overheard by say their children or hubby at the time of their call, ringing from a mobile phone and then getting a hefty bill just when you finances are severely challenged.

I eventually did manage to obtain the figures I was wanting regarding profit from their raffle ticket selling but had to write to the CEO to get it. The initial email never arrived and when I'd chased for it they even put the phone down on me! Such a shame. I had been hoping to drum up a Blue Peter style sense of excitement in the office and fund raising for them but their dreadful attitude left me cold.

JUST TO EMPHASISE GUYS THATS 55P A MINUTE PHONING FROM O2 AND 55P JUST TO CONNECT YOUR CALL!!! I'm sure Macmillan's Trust don't carry on like this and we don't get to choose our disease!! The public simply arent' stupid cash cows and do like to be generous and fund raise for a truly empathetic and well run charity - this doesn't appear to be the case with the NKF - I've found them very introspective and cliquey!! Shame on them!! They simply should respond better to some criticism.
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Re: NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby wagolynn » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:07 pm

First thought, if the E-mail did not bounce back it almost certainly arrived.

In my, limited, experience, most 'charities', are similar, after a short time they become focused on making money, in their defence, they have to to survive. So I avoid them as much as I can, there are some very dedicated people at the sharp edge but they are not common.

I suppose, answering the phone day after day to despairing people must be very difficult.
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Re: NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby eliznew412 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:29 pm

Hi. Thanks for the reply.
Ok maybe they did send the email but I've never every lost an email completely and they may have sent it to an incorrect email address. Surely then its common sense to nicely offer to resend it? No such luck.

What is so worrying about this kind of behaviour and offhanded disinterested conduct is they've also talked at me like this some years ago when I was in extreme distress without friends or family to care about me and being bullied at work.

there is another point that having read about a patient even on home haemodialysis from childhood being refused PIP transfer from DLA the government rely more and more on charities and volunteers. If they aren't getting proper supervision and show little interest in progress they are also not going to be patient advocates or a good public face for renal patients. This is just about the only contact many patients get when in shock and told they are at say stage 5 renal failure. If you are fed up with renal patients - well don't volunteer is all I can say as a poor volunteer does more harm than good and even damage themselves with half hearted empathy.

Why is there always a race for the lowest standards in hard economic times? I want to see something better than this for renal patients, dont' you? I've had full on customer service experience myself - actually taking calls for Southern Rail and some of those calls were pretty hard going and over 50 inbound calls a day - honestly I've had passengers screaming at me for trains being 2 mins late. But in amongst those calls I've had the deeply distressed - one poor passenger was in shock having just witnessed a serious accident and yet another moaning about a delay caused by the all too frequent suicides. Like renal patients bless em many commuters faced the same old problems day after day with relentless delays and cancellations. I don't know how other people cope with customer service but honestly I had immense sympathy even for the regular moaners. Of course I made mistakes but I didn't pretend to be complacent and tried my best for each caller.

I reckon if I can do that for so many callers each day it can't be mission impossible for the NKF helpline to improve. Apparently the CEO doesn't care - they are volunteers and not answerable to them ergo - they won't both doing anything about them.

The complacency was well in place with regard to the charges to patients and carers calling from mobile phones. There was no "Oh Liz we really do need to look into this. You have a point." I understand the CEO is an ex politician - maybe that explains it. I think they do too much aping of the consultants and too little listening to patients and sincere complaint handling to improve.

They get tax concessions as a charity so they are really a service to the public and they should conduct themselves accordingly taking an interest in improving training and selection of volunteers. So many people would love the opportunity to train in customer service. Patients need better service and more sensitive treatment.
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Re: NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby chrisb » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:11 pm

I phoned the NKF helpline once when I was desperate for some information and had no where else to turn. I was told to "phone another charity" and had the phone put down on me. I have never rung them since and do not feel inclined to fund raise for them. I also think they should spend some of the vast amount of money they receive on advertising like the cancer charities do. They are never out of your face and people do get the message. Kidney charities only seem to speak to the converted as though we should be ashamed of it.

I live in a development of over 55s and we often have fundraisers for various charities. I asked if we could do one for kidney charities and I was told that they have previously had a very successful fundraise for kidney research and quite a considerable amount of money was raised. Every other time the recipient charity would send a thank you letter which was displayed on our noticeboard. In the case of the kidney fundraiser no such letter was received, not even an acknowledgement. I was told that they would not be doing another.
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Re: NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby Chris Wright » Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:46 pm

Just had a little look around their website.

They say that 1500 patients contacted the helpline and 300 carers on behalf of patients, so 1800 calls in total.

The helpline is open Mon to Fri, and let's assume not on Bank Hols/Public Hols.

So it's open, about 52 x 5 = 260 days, minus 8 Bank Holidays= 252 days.

And 1,800 divided by 252 = 7 calls a day. About one an hour.

They should do better.

Also they have no financial records on the site.

I have e-mailed them to ask for them. I'll let you know if they are interesting.

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Re: NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby JMan » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:49 pm

Things would be a LOT LOT worse without the NKF, BKPA, and despite the fact I'm not keen on them, Kidney Research UK. Who spend far more on advertising than I'm comfortable with any charity to do and do very little to research causes and prevention of CKD.

Finances are available from the office, and held accountable by the charity commission.

http://opencharities.org/charities/1106735

They don't have HUGE amounts of money as you can see. The conference often makes a loss, even with sponsorship from agropharmecueticals (who aren't exactly kidney friendly companies to start off with.

Also re charities.. We shouldn't NEED THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.. If proper services were in place from central and local government. This is why, with every little or large domestic crisis the media and locals goes into a frenzy and and a new charity is spawned for unfortunate events from a few damaged homes, to eye injuries from conkers.. All are terrible, tragic stressful to the people affected but trivial to the big companies, insurance and government.

This is why I have NEVER EVER supported the 'media frenzy' events such as red nose day, bake off of for macmillan etc etc etc.

@eliznews412 Hope your keeping OK otherwise.

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Re: NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby Chris Wright » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:38 pm

Jman,

Thanks, you did well to dig that out.

Pretty basic stuff compared to proper and full accounts, but so be it.

It'll be interesting to see if they come back with a more detailed breakdown.

C
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Re: NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby wagolynn » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:30 pm

[quote="JMan"]

Also re charities.. We shouldn't NEED THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.. If proper services were in place from central and local government. This is why, with every little or large domestic crisis the media and locals goes into a frenzy and and a new charity is spawned for unfortunate events from a few damaged homes, to eye injuries from conkers.. All are terrible, tragic stressful to the people affected but trivial to the big companies, insurance and government.
/quote]

I thought I was on my own, charities let the NHS etc. off the hook.
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Re: NKF (UK) Helpline & unsupervised volunteers - caution

Postby JMan » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:00 pm

Well the AGM is coming up soon:) First of April at the Arden Hotel, Birmingham.
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