This was a consultation meeting on the Accessibility of the Patient Journey to Hospital.
Our key recommendations were:
- Improve signage in and around hospitals and across all sites. It is currently unclear and confusing.
- Review accessibility notices on appointment letters to include information on how to notify the hospital of any access needs and requirements with a main point of contact.
- Feedback that any necessary arrangements have been made.
- Access statements are more widely available before visiting hospital, particularly on the hospital websites, as well as in different formats to meet other access needs.
- Clearer maps, directions and how to travel to the hospital should be made available in different formats upon request.
- Hospital staff should be better trained in how to book an interpreter.
- There needs to be better communication with patients about their access requirements from hospital staff.
- Follow-up after discharge is also recommended to ensure the patient understands instructions given by health professionals when leaving hospital.
- Increase the number of volunteers assisting patients in and around hospitals, particularly those who have access needs.
- Accessibility of hospital toilets needs to be improved across all sites. Signage is currently poor and equipment within the toilets are often inaccessible, such as pedal bins and inappropriate facilities for people with visual impairments. Adult changing facilities also need to be made more widely available.
- A more flexible approach to offering overnight beds to carers of patients who need 24-hour personal care.