"Lack of clear signage"

About: Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

I took my Mother to a Vascular appointment at the N&NH as she has had a leg ulcer for many months.

On arrival I had to drop her off as near to the hospital as possible and then look for a parking space in one of the car parks. Despite there being drop off points indicated, they then seemed to be allocated for Taxis, Ambulances or buses, with nothing for private cars without official or disabled sticker designation.

I had to guess which Outpatients Reception to drop her nearest to and so chose the East wing; it turned out that the Vascular department is in the West wing. There is a complete lack of clear signage to indicate the correct reception and their departments so that someone new to this Hospital is largely in the dark as to where to go.

Not that everything was badly signed. The two rotunda restaurants outside either Wing are very well indicated with huge boards and other signage advertising their services. It seems that to find anything else a visitor has to ask staff at the reception desks.

It was in the large lobby that I found your website advertised where little else was, there being plenty of room to put information on the walls such as direction arrows or a map.

As the son of an Architect who gave decades of his life to the NHS and the proper design of Hospitals, I can only hope that this feedback might lead to better access to services at the N & N Hospital.

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Response from Janice Bradfield, Senior Communications and Membership Manager, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are sorry that you had difficulty finding the clinic during the recent visit with your mother. The outpatient letters include details of the location of the clinic and the nearest car parks. However, we do recognise that this is a big site to navigate and we will pass on your comments to our facilities department.

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Update posted by AWE (a relative)

One of the problems with the NHS is the assumption that all patients are capable of acting on a single piece of information, without further confirmation that it has indeed been delivered and understood.

My Mother has always been anxious, increasingly vague and frustratingly difficult to help. A misunderstood telephone conversation with our local Surgery lead to a missed appointment, such as when she misheard 30th when the date was actually the 13th; this happens when you have poor hearing, even with a hearing aid. Yet when appointments have been missed (such as when she laid in bed for 4 days with an infection) no follow up was made by the Surgery to determine why she hadn't attended.

A letter or single phone call is simply not enough to assure that a vulnerable patient is able to attend an appointment. As someone on whom a substantial burden of care falls, I may or may not be informed of all the relevant information, such as the exact details of where the appointment is to be held. Therefore, having actually managed to drive her to the correct Hospital on time, it would be helpful if a site map or signs were available, indicating which of the two Wings held the relevant departments.

Response from Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital

We are sorry to hear that you had difficulty finding the clinic during your visit. We will pass on your feedback to our facilities team.