"Route march to get to outpatient department"

About: Royal Stoke University Hospital / Cardiology

(as the patient),

In May this year I had an appointment at the brand new University Hospital of North Staffordshire for some cardiac tests.

Once I had been dropped off at the Main Entrance (my husband joined me about 1/2 hour later after finding a parking space) I had to walk some considerable distance across a forecourt and into a large atrium, to find out where I should go. This was totally unacceptable for a disabled person, do the designers of hospitals not know they are for sick, disabled or elerly people?

Once booked in I then had to make my way to the first floor down what seemed like a never-ending corridor to another maze of corridors to the heart and lung reception area, from there I was once again walked down some more passages to where my tests would be done.

My heart was beating so fast that the technician said she was unable to do the test so all my effort in getting there was wasted. The technician felt so sorry for me that she found a wheel chair and someone to take me back to the entrance of the hospital.

This was an appalling experience. I question that this hospital conforms to the Disability Discrimination Act. Although I am disabled, I should like to point out that I do try to keep myself mobile and do not use a wheel chair unless absolutely necessary.

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Response from Senior Communications Manager, Communications, University Hospital of North Staffordshire We have made a change

Dear Suzie,

Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience at our new hospital. The Trust has recently opened up a new car park directly opposite the Main Entrance of Main Building for our patients and visitors who are unable to walk long distances. This car park appears to have been well received and I'm hopeful you will use it on the next occasion that you visit University Hospital of North Staffordshire. As you rightly point out, the new hospital is indeed vast. The Trust has provided chairs at the Main Entrance for those patients and visitors who require them.

Could I suggest the following on your next visit? On entering the site, drive to the drop off/pick up zone at the Main Entrance, vehicles are permitted to stay in this zone for 20 minutes. Here, your husband will be able to assist you into the atrium of the building where there is seating. He would then be able to return to your vehicle and park it in the adjacent car park before rejoining you. If you have a blue badge, disabled spaces are available. On exit from the hospital, the drop off/pick up zone can be used to reduce the distance. I hope this goes some way to addressing your concerns.

We would ask for people's patience as we continue to build the new hospital and surrounding car parks, which are due to be complete by 2014. Should you require any further information, please visit www.uhns.nhs.uk. Or alternatively, I'm happy for you to contact me directly at andrew.ashcroft@uhns.nhs.uk.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Ashcroft

Senior Communications Manager