Anyone Used the New Southmead?

My dad recently had an op there and I was absolutely appalled by almost everything there

The parking is terrible. All the disabled bays outside of the hospital have been turned into taxi spaces.

My dad was constantly being moved from room to room.

No tvs or radios at the hospital. Not even connections for them to come in in the future. It was terrible.

The consultant and nursing staff were so rushed that they were almost running everywhere.

Shazzie xx

Yes and no.

Been to it, yes. But as you presumably know, the MS Outpatients (former BRAMS, but now merged with Dementia Outpatients) is nowhere near the new main hospital complex.

I had originally planned to walk up, just to have a gawp, after my neuro appointment, but felt so whacked afterwards (always get very anxious with the hospital), and it was such a long walk, that I really wasn’t sufficiently motivated, and just wanted to get home as soon as possible.

So I never did see it. But the reports I’ve been hearing are no better than yours. You most certainly do NOT expect a brand new 21st Century hospital to have parking problems from Day One, or to have no form of patient entertainment. I know the systems are often a rip-off, but I don’t know what’s worse: getting ripped-off when you’re sick (or more often your visitors getting ripped off when they top it up for you), or not having any system to get ripped-off by.

Do hope your dad’s doing OK!



I agree with you Tina. I thought the BRAMS Unit was a bit tatty but I think I would prefer it to the new hospital. You have to walk such a long way to get to any department. And what is the clock all about? I couldn’t work it out at all. Just a couple of strip lighting units and a couple of dangly bits. All for 100k!!

My dad is doing ok thanks Tina. They found a cyst in his kidney and it was removed. They now say that it was pre cancerous so good it was caught in time. It was the GP who picked it up though.

How are you getting on on Gabapentin?

Shazzie x

Not having viewed the clock, I haven’t a clue (not that it sounds as if seeing it would help much!)

Yeah, I agree with you the BRAMS area was a bit run-down, though I think I found it more spacious and airy than the former one at Frenchay, which I found a real heartsink of a place.

I still feel we’re being treated as second-class people, with an unglamorous second-class illness - not being included in the main hospital complex. And I’ve still got mixed feelings about being lumped together with dementia - not that I’m prejudiced against that, as one of my most longstanding friends was diagnosed this year.

But in practical terms, it may all be a blessing in disguise, as the Brunel building is certainly not winning any accolades from staff and patients, whatever its architectural merits.

I’m glad your dad is doing well despite the shortcomings of the hospital itself. I suppose outcome is the main thing, although you still don’t expect to have a more miserable time in hospital than your condition itself dictates. Sounds like he’s got a pretty good GP!

Thanks for asking about the Gabapentin - bit of a long old story (sorry!) - here we go:

The idea was I was going to try again, but titrating up to a higher dose (i.e. the “proper” dose that most other people were on in the first place).

Well, I know the NHS are keen to cut down on drug waste, and if I’m honest, I’m not keen on waste either, so when the proposal was that I would start titrating up with the 100mg tablets I still had left, aiming to reach nine a day, I didn’t mind taking so many, because the plan was that once we knew how that was working out, I could switch to the stronger 300mg tablets - so back to just three a day. Fine!

But my GP and I, despite neither of us being silly (I don’t think!) didn’t do the maths about just how quickly I’d run out if I started taking so many more. So towards the end of last week, I was on six a day, and realised I had ten days’ left at that rate, even if I didn’t go up any more (and you know what my pharmacy has been like - ten days is already cutting it fine!), so I needed a telephone consultation urgently, even though I hadn’t yet got to the full dose, so couldn’t report how it was.

Rang up to find my doctor is on hols all this week (even though she’d asked me to book a phone consultation, she hadn’t mentioned she was out any time soon), so had to book a call with one of the others.

All went OK, and she’s prescribed me 84 of the 300mg tabs, so 28 days at three a day. Still titrating up to that. Yesterday took 700mg - four of the old 100mg tablets and one of the new 300s at bedtime. Will do the same tonight, then go to 800 tomorrow (two new tablets, two old). Couple of days at that, and if no ill effects, I’ll go to the final 900.

The downside: I know I’m still not up to the proper dose, but so far, I still don’t think I’ve had any benefit. In fact, if I’m having to analyse whether I have, mustn’t the answer be: “No”? If I was feeling better, wouldn’t I know without having to think about it? If I’ve got to rack my brains to tell, any improvement must be marginal at best.

And one thing that concerns me is that certain things might be a little worse. I’ve had joint stiffness for quite some years, which my neuro has always dismissed as “not MS”. Yet oddly, since I got up to 60mg a day of Baclofen, I have not noticed it as much, so I think it was something to do with muscle stiffness placing an extra burden on the joints.

However…last few days, my knee joints are unmistakably stiffer going up and downstairs. Now I know you should always read the patient information leaflet before starting, but I deliberately didn’t, because I didn’t want to scare myself silly with all sorts of horrible side-effects, and end up not taking them. I decided I’d only look up side-effects if I noticed anything unusual. So after a few days of this joint stiffness, and telling myself it’s probably unconnected, I look up the side-effects.

Guess what’s in there? Joint stiffness! Coincidence? Who knows? But I’m now a little concerned it could be causing pains instead of solving any. I’ve not given up yet, and will persevere to the end of the trial (remembering to leave enough time for weaning off).

But early indications aren’t encouraging. I’m up to 700 of 900 now, so feel I should be noticing something positive. But I’m not - and possibly a few negatives. :frowning:



Oh dear Tina. I must admit it took a good month on the 1200mg per day to notice my hug turning into a numbness around the ribs rather than an actual pain. It also helps me sleep a lot deeper as I was having insomnia at times.

I have to admit though I have noticed painful wrists and knees since on the higher dose. Although, the hug pain was driving me bananas so I don’t mind the aching joints at the moment, as long as it doesn’t get any worse. It is so difficult isn’t it knowing whether to continue or not. Like you say though, all we can do is give it time and if we are not happy then stop it I suppose.


Just ran across this post - As for New Southmead, not yet being registered disabled, I head straight for the multi-storey and then either follow the yellow dots or, if I’m particularly knackered take the ‘bus’. So far, just been to outpatients for tests, repeat tests and Neuro Consultant appointments, I quite enjoy scanning the barcode and then wandering down to Gate 36 via the coffee shop for sustenance on route, advising cross legged people where the next available (not being cleaned) loos are while I’m at it.

Re. Gabapentin - I didn’t notice any real improvement until I was at around the 1,800/2,100 mg mark I’,m on 2,400 mg per day (I’m allowed to go to 2,700 mg - but I lose concentration at that level which is not good) which I take 900/600/900 when I get up, lunchtime and when I go to bed, that keeps the burning/raging pins and needles and bone deep ache to about a 3/10; and 20 mg of Amitriptyline at night to keep the electric shocks at bay [Unless I do too many push ups ]. I’m on a repeat prescription now. So far, so good - only noticeable side effect has been a slightly dry mouth/ability to taste is a bit haywire, but nothing too bad. I also have D3 at 800iU per day to keep my D levels where they should be. Which reminds me - time to take the lunchtime dose!

Hope you get some relief from the Gabapentin soon.

My sister has had her op at Southmead, and my daughter went there last week for her MRI and neuro appointment they love it said its brilliant, and everyone has their own room…My sister had her masectomy there twice now and couldnt praise the place enough.

They are now pulling down all the old hospital and sorting out the parking…

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Thanks Theresa. The Gabapentin seems to be helping but has given me terrible gaz. Glad it is helping you too.

Goldengirl, so pleased your sister and daughter got on ok at Southmead. My dad had his own room too but was so bored with no tv. I think that would have made his experience more bearable. He is all mended now so that’s good.

Shazzie xx

sure my sister said they had a small t.v perhaps they were just doing them slowly…glad your dad is on the mend.

The one thing my daughter said it was like being at an airport, and the food and drink just as expensive lol.

Oh yes. It was like an airport. They even had a desk that said “check in”. At least they seem to be doing a good job with the ops eh? Lots of bad news around regarding other hospitals so I reckon we should be grateful really.

Take care.

Shazzie xx

Hi all

Went to Southmead today for a full MRI spinal scan my appointment was at 2.30 but I arrived at 2.00. The receptionist said my GP had also requested a X Ray on my 2 hips and knees.They fitted me in before I went for MRI scan.Very efficient and organised.

Very impressed with the staff.