"Local Bristol Hospitals, a Carers guide"

About: Clevedon Hospital Frenchay Hospital Southmead Hospital Weston General Hospital

(as the patient),

My mother is wheelchair bound, and, as her carer, I have to accompany her on her visits to our local hospitals. My main area of interest lies not so much in the medical care she receives, which is usually excellent, but things like ease of access, and attitudes of non-medical staff. I cannot drive, so we have to rely on a superb local organisation called Clevedon Care. As mum receives Pension Credit we can claim the expenses back, so I have to deal with the financial offices at each hospital. Below is a very brief guide to the hospitals visited this year, and my own personal views on them:

Bristol Eye Hospital: Parking awful, as it located in a side street off of Maudlin Street and behind the Bus Station. Entry to the main reception ok, but lifts are located beyond two heavy doors. Most of the departments have narrow corridors, not very wheelchair friendly!, and the main reception area, along with the pharmacy closes at 5pm, not helpful if your appointment doesn't end until gone this time! If medication is required then the script is left with a nurse and the goods sent on to you. As for claiming expenses, this requires going up the road and across Maudlin Street, which is bad enough for an able-bodied person, impossible for a wheelchair! There I have found that the staff in the finance offices can be very rude, and god forsake you if you don't have the correct documentation - which is not always easy as you need a form from main reception, and they close early! The staff here should take lessons in people management!

Southmead. A pig of a place to reach from Clevedon, no direct route via the motorway. Access is fine for the main reception, but most of the departments were not designed for wheelchairs and are narrow etc. The finance dept is located in an awkward corner, but the staff are usually excellent, and they keep all details on file so they know who their regulars are, and what they normally claim back.

Frenchy. Another long journey, but good motorway links make it much easier than above. Access is ok, but the department visited has heavy doors and is VERY narrow! The finance department is located in another hidden corner, but the staff are always excellent.

Weston General. Hospital access ok, but the least said about the finance department the better - worst of the lot! I have found them to be very rude at times, not nice at all.

Clevedon Health Centre. Almost on our doorstep, superb ease of access, and no need to deal with any money matters! All other admin staff mostly local, so I know most of them, and they are very friendly etc. Many medical establishments could follow Clevedon's example and learn how best to treat their clients!

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