"Badly designed Hospitol that Elderly patients..."

About: Southmead Hospital

My elderly father was transferred to this hospital from the BRI, and stayed in the Neurology Ward. The ward itself is spread out with most patients in their own rooms. The spread out nature of the ward meaning he would hardly see a nurse. I don't know how long it would have taken for someone to find him if anything had gone wrong. His room was filthy. And when we visited we found ourselves cleaning for him. His plastic glass for squash wasn't cleaned or replaced, so we had to clean it in his sink for him. And one day, he didn't even get a cup of tea given to him. The wards just seem so large, that the staff don't have the time to clean up properly, or even look after patients. He was also in a room all day alone, with no television or stimulus of any kind. The place was depressing. When trying to communicate about his care with doctors, we were told no doctors were available after 3pm, which was the only time he could be visited due to work hours. My father gets confused, so we had very little information about what was going on with his care. Even when we asked to see the nurse involved in his care, a student nurse was instead sent to us, who could tell us nothing. So we had to rely on my father's confused ideas about what was going on. After we came home, today we had to take him in for outpatient care, which was extremely difficult. We arrived 30 mins early, and ended up 10 mins late for his appointment as it took us that long of driving up and down the multi-story car park waiting for someone to leave to get a space. The walk from the multi-story car park is a very long for an elderly gentleman using a walking stick. There is apparently a shuttle service, but it never seemed to materialise so we had to walk. When we left I waited with my father while my partner went to get the car. But when he arrived at the entrance my partner wasn't allowed to stop and pick us up as the buses were backed up, and he was asked to leave. So we had to try and meet up to find a place we could be picked up. Also, the outpatient facilities, are the furthest away from the entrance of the hospital. I don't know who designed this, but as a lot of the people visiting outpatients are elderly it seems a very bad design flaw. Overall, I would avoid using this hospital if at all possible, and I would advise elderly vulnerable people to stay away. The hospital design, is stressful, and made for its looks rather than ease of patient use. It looks beautiful, but functions terribly.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Samantha – thank you for taking the time to advise of your father’s and your own poor experience. It is clear there were a number of factors which were not of the standard we expect for our patients. The poor cleaning and the inability to speak to a clinician were unacceptable and I apologise staff did not immediate address these issues and resolve them for your family. TV access is to be provided in all rooms, but this available in the ward quiet rooms and radios can be made available. Additionally Wi-Fi access is available for patients with their own personal devices. I am sorry you did not find the shuttle bus service to use, as this runs regularly. However once the redevelopment of the hospital is complete next year access to the Brunel Building will be much easier from an adjacent new customer multi-story car park. This will then improve access for pick-ups and set-downs for patients which at the moment are controlled for safety reasons. To assist patients who find it difficult to attend some of the clinic or treatment gates in the Brunel building a trial has started this week using and airport style electric vehicle to transport them through the main concourse. Once again I apologise your experience was poor but I hope that should you need to use the hospital again you will witness the constant evolvement of the facility, which once complete will provide the service to compliment the design. Kind regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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