"awareness of the needs of disabled patients"

About: Manchester Royal Eye Hospital

Please note the low rating above re dignity and respect refers to the situation described below and not to treatment from a specific member of staff I came today to physically and emotionally support a friend age 65 with severe physical diasabilities who was bringing her 96 year old wheelchair bound mother for her monthly treatment for macular degeneration. This was not my first visit in this capacity and as on previous visits we experienced horrendous difficulty finding any disabled parking. The increased drop off parking is of no help to my friend, as a disabled driver, because she herself cannot walk any distance unaided and obviously cannot push her mother in the wheelchair [hence the need for my support] Expecting her to to park her car for a max of 30 mins [ assuming there are any spaces ], take her mother up to the clinic then to somehow walk back to her car try to find longer stay disabled parking further away from the clinic and then walk back, is physically impossible for her . Anticipating this problem pre -appointment is very stressful for her as she has often had to drive around the car park for over half an hour before finding a blue badge place. The difficulties do not end with problems parking -once in the building the heavy doors entering Clinic are a source of difficulty for my friend and even for me when pushing a wheelchair. In Clinic J space is very restricted and patients with poor vision, and varying mobility problems have to pick there way from their seat between chairs packed too tightly together. Add to this an excessively hot and stuffy environment and an appointment that lasted 31/2 hrs and the whole experience left my friend and her mother in a state of exhaustion. I cannot fault the treatment. care and warmth of the staff at the Royal Eye Hospital but the rest of the experience was horrendous. I would be interested to hear how people in my friends situation might be supported better Thankyou .

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Response from Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to learn that your experience was not as positive as we would hope. It is important to us that comments are heard and seen as an opportunity provided to the service to make changes and improvements wherever possible.

In respect of the number of disabled car parking spaces. Currently 20% of patient and visitor parking spaces across the Central Site are specifically designated for blue badge holders (268 spaces). In the event that all the disabled spaces in front of the hospitals situated on the Oxford Road site are full, blue badge holders have the back-up option to utilise any of the 1,044 patient/visitor spaces at both the Trust’s multi-storey car parks (Grafton Street or Hathersage Road) without charge provided that they ensure that their current blue badge is clearly displayed in their vehicle.

We are aware that blue badge parking can be difficult at times and the Trust is introducing a transfer bus which will operate along the Boulevard between the Hathersage Road and Grafton Street car parks which will be freely available to convey patients & visitors along the Boulevard, dropping off and picking up at various locations.  It is hoped that this initiative will improve the overall travel experience for all patients & visitors.

We are very sorry that you found the environment in the Eye clinic hot and stuffy and we will monitor this closely to ensure that the area is maintained to ensure a comfortable environment.

In relation to the access doors, our maintenance team regularly inspect and adjust all of the doors around the hospital, especially the fire doors, but if you find them heavy on your next visit please report this to the reception team and ask them to call the Sodexo helpdesk, who will arrange for the doors to be checked. We are investigating the possibility of installing automatic doors to the Eye Clinics. In relation to the challenges of manoeuvring around the waiting area with a wheelchair, we are sorry that you found this to be restricted and we are reviewing the seating configuration with the reception teams, but these are busy clinics and we are trying to strike the right balance between adequate numbers of seats and ease of manoeuvring.

Thank you once again for your comments, we value your feedback and we are sorry that on this occasion we failed to provide you with the optimum level of customer service we strive for. If you would like to discuss this with us in more detail, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0161 276 8686 or by e-mailing pals@cmft.nhs.uk who would be happy to discuss your concerns with you.