"Go somewhere else!"

About: Southmead Hospital

My husband was admitted via A&E, being discharged at 9pm several nights later as they had ascertained he was not in danger of dying and therefore not in need of hospital care. He then waited 4.5 hours for his discharge paperwork and medication. The hospital is brand new yes, but it feels like an airport - all parts of it are cold - a novelty for a hospital! The heating in my husbands room was broken, we closed his bedroom door one afternoon so he could have a nap for about 2 hours and by the time I opened it again my hands were blue and my feet numb My husband stayed on two wards and both seemed to be long long corridors with individual rooms - surely this just wastes space and gives staff more work as they can only see one person at a time??? It also doesn't stop the dementia patient waking the whole ward up. There was always someones buzzer going off and my husband routinely waited in excess of 30 mins just to be given painkillers. Incidentally Southmead is too posh to have wards - they have gates! how pretentious! The signage is also horrific - you may know what gate number you need but they aren't on the maps - the maps show the area of specialism you wish to visit which is pointless. As an aside for visitors - parking is paid for on arrival so make sure you know how long you want to stay and is in change only - they do not provide change machines, take notes or take card payments and you are unable to get change at the shop (this is a 15 min walk away anyway) Best tip buy a weekly ticket - it's £15 but up to 2 hours costs £3 so you get your money's worth if you're visiting someone several times. Another note for visitors - you will not be able to get a hot meal at the hospital - there are 2 Costa Cafes and a small League of Friends coffee shop. If like me you are visiting someone after work, you wont be able to get through the traffic until probably 7pm, visiting is til 8pm but I was never asked to leave - expect to get home at 10pm and then start cooking yourself some food The traffic round the hospital is horrendous and I actually had to queue on the hospital site yesterday as the buses round the main entrance had blocked the roundabout. The multi-storey car park is plainly insufficient but they are building another one, no idea when that might be open. The majority of the staff seemed friendly but seemed to just have too much to do - I would not recommend this hospital to anyone and will certainly actively avoid going anywhere near it again.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Lilaccat Thank you for your post. I am grateful for you taking the time and trouble to advise of your husband’s experience at Southmead hospital. I was pleased to learn that A&E assessed your husband was in no imminent danger and he was able to be discharged, but I am sorry that he had to wait to receive the medication he needed to accompany the paperwork. The turnaround target of 4 hours for supply of medication from the pharmacy was regrettably missed, but I cannot say without more details if this was due to a delay within the pharmacy or in transporting the medication back to A&E. I am sorry that whilst you and your husband waited in the A&E you found the environment cold and I apologise if staff did not check and make sure some additional clothing, or blankets, were provided as the heater was broken in his room. The design of the new hospital building was carefully researched and I understand was based on a number of other new and successful hospital designs used across Europe, as was the gate numbering system. It is clear from other feedback received that this is not easy for everyone to follow and so the signage is being reviewed. Your comments will be fed into this process. The single room occupancy has called for adjustments to the working arrangements, but I understand that this challenge is being met and new practices are being introduced to ensure staff are able to respond quickly to patients needs including answering call bells in a timely manner. It is disappointing this was not your husband’s experience. The difficulties with parking and access you refer to have arisen due to the need to demolish the old hospital buildings before new purpose build visitor parking, which will be linked directly to the new Brunel Building for ease of access, can be completed. In the meantime, because the Trust could not afford to keep the Frenchay site operational, staff have had their parking relocated offsite and alternative, patient and visitor parking has been made available. It is fair to say this is not idea, but it was a necessity given the finite size of the site. The second phase development will also see improved roads for better access and the opening of more retail outlets which will allow visitors to enjoy a better variety of hot food. I am sorry that overall your experience was poor and that you feel unable return to use the hospital’s services should the need arise, even though the second phase of the development will deliver more patient and visitor friendly facilities. Kind regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Manager

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