"Outpatients and inpatients"

About: Southmead Hospital

I have attended several clinics at Southmead for cancer tests and results. The new hospital is appalling from start to finish, from the lack of assistance to help you find your appointment to the very confusing 'Gate' layout followed by a transition to a waiting area which is so difficult to find that clinical staff are walking out to the gates in search of their patients. The wayfinding has been given no thought at all and I say this as a 38 year old who is relatively mobile. If I were more vulnerable and weaker I don't know how I would find the appointment. This is the last thing you need in an already stressful situation. Added to that, once you make your way through the gate and the waiting area, you end up in a "sub-wait area" with nowhere near enough seats for all of the patients even if the clinic is on time. The gates meanwhile have numerous seats that are unused because patients are moved into the next holding pen far too quickly. That said, the staff trying to manage the clinics are doing their best in near impossible circumstances. The building layout does not seem to have been considered from a patients' perspective at all. No-one likes airports, they tolerate them to get to their holiday. I'm not going on holiday at Southmead, I'm waiting to get my cancer prognosis, so I don't have the energy to navigate the system. Whilst I won't be having surgery at Southmead I have had two major cancer operations in two other hospitals and find it ridiculous that they cannot even provide patients with a TV. Given the demographics of the inpatients it is unlikely that offering to lend them a tablet or provide free wi-fi is any help at all. Whoever was in charge of project managing this building should be ashamed of themselves.

Story from NHS Choices

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