About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

My heart always sinks a little when I have to go to QEH, because it's a long way from me (at Rowlands Gill) and because of the soulless site, it feels at the back of beyond. With the RVI there is the city to enjoy and the Freeman is a designed site, compact, with a canteen and shop to hand when you arrive. By contrast, with its several entrances and higgledypiggledy design, the QEH raises no feelings in me other than sadness. Newly diagnosed with stenosis of the spine which makes walking painful, my visit to the QEH two days ago did for me for the rest of the day. I remembered the number of my car park but there are parks all over the site and nary a bench to sit on, and in fact it seems there is a determination to stop patients sitting down, except in the hospital. No map was included with the appointment, and when I looked up the internet site on the letter (and what about all the elderly people who aren't online?) the department I was visiting, Radiology, was not in the index. Hopeless. Considering the hospital takes £2.50 for any length of car stay, a few pennies spent on a good map, with advice about which entrance to use for which department and clear directions to that department, would cost little and help patients a lot.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

We’re sorry to hear that you’ve had a bad experience at the QE, and have concerns about visiting our site. Our hospital started being built in the 1800s, and will likely never stop growing. It is true that it has grown organically rather than being designed as a whole unit but we believe that each new addition to our site over time, such as our surgery centre, pathology lab, and our brand new emergency care centre are important in ensuring our patients have the most modern cutting edge care possible. We listened to your concerns about the online map and would like to mention that the radiology department is on there but is listed as x-ray, which we can see is confusing so we have now amended the map to reflect this which we hope helps. We were disappointed to hear that you didn’t receive a map with your outpatients appointment letter and will be flagging this up to the department who should be issuing these with appointment letters. There are lots of benches on our site to sit on, but we realise that these aren’t indicated anywhere, so following your feedback we will be working this into our new signage plans. When we open our new emergency care centre later in the year, we will be starting a programme of change for the signage on our site, making it clearer and segregating the hospital into zones to make it easier to get around, which should address lots of your concerns. There isn’t a lot that we can do about the location of our hospital, and although there are not any leisure facilities nearby, we will have some new shop units in the new emergency care centre which should provide some more amenities for you nearer the main entrance come the Autumn.

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