"lack of wheelchairs"

About: Southmead Hospital

My husband had to visit Audiology last Tuesday, appointment was 1.30pm. He has mobility problems and found the walk from the entrance to Gate 36 very difficult. As a result when he had had his audiology appt. we asked at reception if we could have a wheelchair. It appears that if you can even get hold of someone to ask for a wheelchair a job number has to be created this in itself seems incredible, but not only that there were apparently no chairs available. We waited for 1hr55mins before a wheelchair was finally located. Considering the cost of building Southmead one would have thought that the organisation would have ensured that wheelchairs were available in all departments and that it should never be the case that a patient has to wait for so long to access a chair. Whilst I appreciate that the building is new and there will be teething problems I find it totally unacceptable that this should have happened. Should we have to return to Southmead in the future I would hope that someone in authority will have sorted the problem. On a more positive note I would like to mention that the receptionist who tried her best to locate a wheelchair did sterling work and this was much appreciated but the support for her was not in evidence which was a great shame.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous, Thank you for your comments, which have been fed back to the department concerned. We are sorry that you and your husband had such a stressful experience when you attended for his audiology apointment. We are pleased to advise that there are wheelchairs available to use, and these can be found in the entrance of the atrium. The system to obtain a wheelchair is the same as supermarkets whereby you put in a £1 to release the wheelchair and the £1 is returned when the wheelchair is taken back. We are sorry that you were not informed that this service was available. We would hope should you have to return to the hospital that you will have a much better experience. If you would like us to investigate this matter further, or you wish to make a formal complaint, please email us at Complaints@nbt.nhs.uk for telephone us on 0117 3233710.

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