"Hospital wheel chair availability"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Birmingham)

(as a relative),

Upon arriving at QE hospital in Birmingham, we parked in the visitors car park thinking I could run up to the entrance and pick up a wheel chair so I could get a chair for my wife, who had a major operation recently. The only chairs in reception were for the ambulance staff.

I asked at the information point and explained what I needed. I was told that if there wasn't a chair there, then nothing they could do, but call a porter, which could be 40 minutes.

With nothing else to do I accepted and waited by the desk, not saying anything. After a brief period of waiting The women that served me went and spoke to a colleague, and they both came back to me. I was then told I could search the car park, if my wife can't walk I should of got an ambulance, and how did she get into the car in the first place.

Then I was informed that in the morning the area was full of chairs and they go missing during the day until they are rounded up at night. I found this insight really helpful in my moment of need.

To be honest I felt wrong in trying to help my wife and make her more comfortable.

After all this they then told me the porter I was waiting for couldn't go outside due to heath and safety issues..

Luckily a chair was dumped in front of my car and my wife called me.

Lesson learnt, call an ambulance for the 80 mile round trip to save troubling staff to help me.

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Response from Nicky Beecher, Patient Experience Manager, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Thank you for taking the time to feed back about your visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. We are very sorry for the difficulty you had when trying to locate a wheelchair for your wife. Whilst many visitors to the hospital do opt to bring their own wheelchairs with them, we do continue to experience a rapid increase in the number of visitors and patients requesting the use of a hospital wheelchair. To help meet this rise in demand, the Trust Charity has kindly agreed to fund a further supply of wheelchairs scheduled for arrival early in 2016. These will be added to the 200 wheelchairs we currently provide. To help ensure better availability of wheelchairs, distribution of the new supply of chairs will also be managed by the front desk team. Visitors and patients will be signposted to the front desk by our volunteer Welcomer’s. Once at the desk, the reception team will book out the chair and politely request that it is returned to the desk after use for others to use.

Hospital porters are now also completing regular walks around the hospital corridors and car parks through the day. This is to ensure any wheelchairs no longer required are brought back to reception and made available to others to use. It is hoped that these combined efforts will improve the supply of wheelchairs for patients and visitors in future. The situation will, however, continue to be monitored very carefully.

We hope that you will notice a difference in the availability of wheelchairs if you visit the hospital again; if you experience difficulty in the future however please request assistance from the front desk team who will try to locate a wheelchair.

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