No TV or Radio at New Southmead!!


I visited a friend yesterday who was recently admitted to the new Southmead Hospital following a stroke. To my amazement there were no tvs or radios in the new building. I asked the nurse why this was as my poor friend cannot walk and is just led in her bed staring at the ceiling and I was told that the Trust had ran out of money.


Don’t get me wrong. I don’t sit watching telly all day but I do think it is a big part of rehabilitation when mobility is affected.

Sorry about the rant but I for one will be off to Bath A & E not Southmead, should I need it. Hopefully I won’t.

Shazzie xx

Hi Shazzie,

Had not heard about this, and am shocked. Yes, I do think morale is important in hospital, and although TV/radio/internet might not seem much, it’s a heck of a lot if the alternative is staring at the ceiling. I LOVE my radio, and I’d get withdrawal if I was without internet (I’m just assuming they don’t have that either, as if they can’t manage radio or TV, I don’t suppose they got as far as WiFi)

Last year, I had the misfortune to spend over eight hours on a trolley in A&E, without even a magazine to read, and I wasn’t badly hurt enough not to care. Now I’m not saying entertainment facilities should be provided in A&E, as it’s not really appropriate, and the ideal would be patients wouldn’t be stuck on trollies long enough to need them! BUT it seemed like the longest eight hours of my life. I was going nearly demented with boredom. Also, I think entertainment can be a useful distraction from pain. Now I’m not saying just turn on the radio and all your pain will go away - if only it were that simple. But I do think anything that stops you dwelling on how bad you feel is a useful tactic.

Yes - definitely increases my incentive to stay out of Southmead, if at all possible - not that anyone goes to hospital by choice. But if I can possibly avoid being admitted, I will do so.



Hi Tina

Nice to chat with you.

I thought I would post this thread as I know there are a lot of us from this are and, like you say, without any stimulation at all it would make things so much worse.

I agree with you that just switching on a radio or watching tv when things are bad then it takes your mind of it for a while. Also, it gives you something to chat with others about.

The nurses weren’t too happy either as they said that they are spending a lot of time chatting with inpatients as there is nothing else for the patients to concentrate on. Awful.

Hope this information is helpful to a lot of us as I am going to do my best to avoid Southmead if at all possible. I have an appt with Dr Cottrell next week so I am going to mention it then too.

There is also no internet access there at the moment. I asked if I could bring in a little tv for my friend and the nurse said no as it wouldn’t work so I assume they don’t have any aerial access.

I am wondering whether the media know this. Thinking seriously about contacting the local media.

Take care Tina and thanks for replying.

Shazzie x

Hey Shazzie

Well i’m from the same area and fall under Southmead now. I know a few senior nurses working there and although its new and modern but the overall picture is pretty shocking really. The trust are loseing most of their skilled profesionals, doctors and nurses due to working hours, no parking facilities, staff shortages etc, etc.

I won’t bore you with the stories but the hospital is designed to get patients out of hospital as quickly as possible.Just look at the amount of single rooms there are. These rooms are not to assist you with your stay, but more to make you want to leave sooner, hence no televisions. Wards are only allowed to stock basic drugs now, unlike Frenchay, so hope and pray that you don’t need something specialist and the pharmacy is running on skeleton staff.

I’m quitting Bristol soon and heading over to Bath. I’ve had enough of not getting any help or treatment under the neuro team at Bristol/ Frenchay. There maybe some good neuros at Southmead, but if like me, you are given a “bad one” then your stuffed. I’ve had all the tests come back positive for MS and my clinical history suggests that I should be on a first line DMT, but i’m not.

This illness is bad enough without having to be treated like rubbish and be cared for by nurses who’s hearts are no longer in it. (Not all nurses, but I do know quite a few who are)

Oh Anon. Sounds like you have been treated badly.

I have recently took ill health retirement from the NHS and I have seen first hand all the cuts that have been made. Several of our doctors left and not been replaced. Health Care Assistants being asked to take on nursing roles so that nurses who have left the Trust do not have to be replaced. It’s a real mess.

Hope you get better care at Bath. I might be following you. Definitely won’t be using Southmead if I can help it. Sounds awful.

Take care and let me know how you get on at Bath.

Shazzie xx

Our local hospital has television monitors over every bed. lts a tele/radio/telephone - and you have to pay an astronomic amount to use it. The cost is per day. So when you are not able to watch/listen you are still paying for it. Also, if you use the telephone - the person you are calling also is charged!! Now this is daylight robbery. Gone are the days when most wards had a telly - which was on whether you wanted to watch it or not.

My last stay - knee replacement - l had the benefit of a room on my own - with loo. This was because l was considered a ‘at risk’ patient because of my history of falling. Visitors were banned from the orthopaedic wards to prevent spread of infection. So for 4 days l was quite content to read - and get up and walk about every hour to make sure joints did not seize up. They did allow mobile phones - but stipulated text messaging only. And being in a room on my own l was able to have the window open!! There is so much going on - nurses monitoring you ‘vitals’ and physios making sure you are doing your exercises - certainly no peace and quiet. The wards and rooms constantly being cleaned. l was glad to get home for a rest.

These are sad stories coming from densley populated areas, where the NHS is struggling.

My local hospital is being targetted for closing the A & E dept and sending all patients to a neighbouring hospital. But in some cases, the distance is too much and I am afraid if the proposals go ahead, lives will be lost.

In a lot of instances, we in this country are lucky not to have to check if we have enough health insurance cover or money in the bank to pay for health services, like other countries.

I dunno what the answer is, I just dont know!


Poll, They’ve spent £430 million (yes, you did read it right) on our new hospital. It’s absurd they could spend all that, yet somehow have overlooked radio or television, that you would expect all modern hospitals to have as standard. Also they have been soliciting donations from MS patients to refurbish “our” bit of it - which is NOT part of the brand new complex, but one of the old, vacated buildings. So as well as radio or TV, they couldn’t find anything out of the £430 million for anyone with MS, and we’re being asked to fund it ourselves - patients among those most likely to be economically disadvantaged by their illness. As an aside, though, I do agree with SJ that in many hospitals where they are provided, the entertainment facilities are outright profiteering - along with the parking charges. Tina x

It is incredibe to think how some architects start with a blank page and a piece of land and a hhuuuge amount of dosh is chucked at it, yet somehow, they still get it wrong.

It`s like when those of us in wheelchairs, know how for eg shops should be laid out, or car parks should be arranged, so we can manoeuvre safely around them and it just doesnt happen!

Another example is this, we have a bus station now maybe 20 years old…which has received accolades and awards galore, but if you try to get from one bay to another, you are at risk of being mowed down by the bus you want to catch…there are roads in between the bays!

I bet not one of it`s architects nor award givers EVER used the bus station to catch a bus, as the all rode home in cars!

I would love to be a guinea pig for new disabled loos, counters etc.

They NEED to ask the general users…abled and disabled!

Rant over!


I agree Poll.

I am still fuming about it. I keep thinking of my poor friend who has been told she will be for at least 6 weeks with no stimulation at all.

I was an inpatient for 2 weeks a couple of years ago at Frenchay and I would have been lost without the tv/radio/phone that was attached to each bed.

Whatever happened to radio lollypop?

The funny thing is that if you google Southmead Hospital and televisions it says that they have hospital television.


Be cautious about going to Bath RUH for neuro. Things may have changed since my consultations there in 2010 but at that point it was basically a part time department with a 6 week wait for a lumbar puncture (they only did them on Monday afternoons) and a consultant who sent me away saying it could be MS or it could be a brain tumour. You have to wait (the aforementioned) 6 weeks for an LP + 2 weeks for the result. Her bedside manner brought Maggie Thatcher to mind. Have heard on the grapevine that she’s notorious for being vile.

My GP was happy to re-refer as I was so upset so off I toddled to Frenchay. Wish it had never shut. :frowning:

Went to an MS apt at Southmead last week. Seemed OK so I’ll be staying there. NEVER going back to Bath.

Good luck if you do…

That is shocking for a hospital with no tv or radio, I don’t know your friends financial position but my friend bought a wind-up radio and headphones when in hospital. I think it cost about £15 brand know. You may get them cheaper as used ones online. It’s not ideal but it was better than paying their charges. Regards Neil

I’m sad that Frenchay has shut too Annelda. I was always looked after really well there. Hope the BraMS Unit is just as good at Southmead. I’ll see how it goes.

I agree Neil that it is disgusting that there are no tvs or radio at Southmead. Surely they could set one up in a room somewhere for the poor patients that are having to spend months there.

Thanks for the tip about the radio.

Shazzie xx

Hmmm. I never liked the BraMS unit. Not the people, but the place. Although I can’t say I’ve found the people terribly useful either. I’ve always found it shabby and depressing. It makes my heart sink to walk in there. They tried hard to make it friendly and all that, but to me, it couldn’t disguise the air of neglect, and having seen better days. I really got my hopes up when I thought we might be seen in a bright, state-of-the-art facility in future, so I was bitterly disappointed to learn there was no place for us in the new multi-million pound complex. Bottom of the pile again! I suppose it’s not worth worrying about, for the two ten-minute consultations (it’s sometimes been less than two minutes!) I grudgingly attend every year.



I know what you mean Tina. Mind you it was much much worse when I was diagnosed in 2005. They were based in a really run down ward at Frenchay Hospital.

I haven’t been seen yet at Southmead. Got an appt next week and not really looking forward to it.

Shazzie x

its not an ideal solution for your friend but what about a kindle?

if funds allow get a 4ee box that gives you wi fi and you can use the kindle to watch films and tv programmes too.

my kindle is my best ever gadget.

carole x

Thanks Carole.

I’m going in to see her on Friday so will mention it. I think that someone was going to take a tablet in for her. I know there is no wi fi at the hospital either though. Oh dear.

Hope you are doing ok.

Shazzie xx

MP3 player pre-loaded with audiobooks, or radio shows, or whatever it is she likes? Did this for my dad, when he was in hospital. I put Pepys Diaries on there, and Under Milk Wood, and Lake Wobegon days, so a good selection of different moods. He put it on random play, and said it was like having the radio, because he got a good variety of stuff. Obviously, you don’t have to do it his way, and can listen to a whole book in sequence, if you prefer.



What a good idea Tina. I will do that I think as she loves reading.

Thanks again everyone for all your helpful replies.

Shazzie xx


the 4ee box is a portable wifi so that you can get online anywhere.

in theory - although mine keeps going dead. probably me doing something wrong!

carole x