"More Wheelchairs & A Review Of Corridor Etiquette..."
About: Stepping Hill Hospital Stepping Hill Hospital Stockport SK2 7JE
As someone with severe OA who can only walk short distances slowly with elbow crutches, I would really appreciate being able to use a wheelchair to transport me across (what to me feels like) miles of corridors to my regular clinic appointments. I do have a wheelchair of my own - but even though it is collapsible, it is still not the easiest thing to load into a kind friend's car or a taxi and to bring with me. Unfortunately there are never any available whenever I come to Stepping Hill and by the time I have struggled to get into clinics, I am often exhausted and in considerable pain from having to push pyschologically as well as physically to get myself there. I do appreciate that there will always be a great demand on the few that are there at any one time - but I have been told by several members of staff that they wish that visitors would complain about this ongoing issue - as they also feel that there are far too few available and their own repeated requests for more have not been successful. I would also like to add that walking up and down your main access corridor as a vulnerable person on crutches can be a real nightmare. A variety of equipment from small machinery and trollies up to larger spare or broken beds are often left out to block both the sides of the corridors at fairly regular intervals and they have to be negotiated around somehow against the other fast and ever-moving traffic of staff and visitors. This creates a 'terrified rabbit in the headlights of a truck' experience for me! And as I knew it would happen one day - on a visit last year, I was bumped into by a very impatient porter on a hell-bent mission to get his dinner tray trolley from A to B at all costs to everyone else. Despite falling sideways and ending up being rammed up against a wall and one of the afore-mentioned abandoned broken beds, I instinctively apologised, only to be told "you need to move faster and visitors should know by now that our trollies always take priority!". Before I could answer, he was gone. I was quite shocked, by his attitude as much as anything and my Mum was livid and wanted to make a formal complaint, but I was too upset and just wanted to get to the clinic on time. It was only later that I discovered that in falling against the drip-stand that was attached to the bed, it had left me with a lovely black eye - this was not really the result that you would expect to receive when you come to attend a Fracture Clinic of all places(!) Aside from the general confusion concerning the etiquette of staff 'versus' visitors - can a room not be made available somewhere along what are supposed to be the main access corridors for the stacking up and storage (temporary or permanent) of these obstacles that are left out unwanted or requiring maintenance? I did wonder too as to whether there would also be hygiene issues as well as health and safety attached to the current practice of outside of the ward or department abandonment.