Southmead Hospital Bristol experiences.....


Long ‘feeling sorry for myself’ rant. Just typing it has made me feel better, as it does on this forum :slight_smile:

It’s driving me insane!

Southmead Hopsital Bristol that is - both before and after the merge with Frenchay. You can’t find anywhere to park much after 9am - they are still building the new hospital and ripping down the old one on the same site so less parking than before, when it was really bad. I spent over an hour not finding a space and had to cancel an appointment a few weeks ago.

Today I had an appointment in the shiney new Brunel Building. Very nice I’m sure. But there were a lot of people wandering around looking lost. Including the people I later learned were helpers there to guide us to where we needed to be.

This week is the first week outpatients clinics have been held in the new Brunel Building. So no one is quite sure where anything is. Or how to find out. Never mind work out how to use the software to dig out information so you can re-book your cancelled-10-minutes-before-it’s-appointed-time appointment. Just having the original letter with the details of your first physio appointment didn’t help!

Today’s appointment was to see the consultant about my newly damaged knee. We tried 3 different ‘gates’ before we got the right one. And then weren’t convinced! The hospital is based around an airport scheme - no signs to ‘Avon Orthopeadic Centre’, just scan your letter’s bar code, press a few buttons on the screen and it’ll tell you where to go. If you’re not too dazed by walking from the car park so you can’t see straight. I didn’t even see there were instructions! lol

I was so frustrated, I was in tears. Just like when I missed the physio appointment.

I hate Southmead hospital - Bring back Frenchay! At least I knew I could park close to the BrAMS centre for my MS appointments! Every time!!!

If I have to stagger about again, I think I will curl up under a bush and quietly wait to expire.

I’m back there on Thursday for the re-arranged physio. I am going to take the psycologically huge step of ‘giving in’, ‘being pathetic’ and generally not ‘pulling myself together’ and get a taxi. It’s a 10-15 minute drive. I’m a woman who expects to be expected to work things out and deal with things. I hate not being that person any more. I can’t sleep tonight.

Wish me luck guys and gals!

Oh gawd sounds like a nightmare! I hate when places install these new fangled supposedly improvements.

My local NHS hospital is East Surrey Hospital which has just undergone expansion, thankfully they don’t have stupid bar code entry systems but no one can find where they need to go. I had to take my mum in law to appointment for her knee, she could barely walk and ended up in tears cos she was in so much pain having to walk round and round trying to find where we needed to be! Not to mention this hospital has probabaly the worst care ethic I have ever come across, they medical staff there are horrendous!

I hope your next visit is rather less stressful, doesn’t help things does it when we have to “worry” about going to appointments.

You’re right to take a taxi next time, why put yourself under anymore stress than you have to.

Good luck, take care xx

Crikey Ellen,

I’m glad I’ve managed to cancel next week’s unrequested physio!

It had been booked for me due to (I assume) a misunderstanding, although I’d never wanted/needed it.

But when the letter came through, I had no way of telling them. I rang the appointments number given on the letter, but was passed all round the houses, with either nobody picking up the phone, or able to cancel a simple appointment.

In the end, I rang the old Frenchay number, which also wasn’t answered, but didn’t say it was discontinued, so I left a voicemail. Had no idea whether that did anything, or whether I’d have to try the whole pallaver again, until the other day, when I got a letter saying it had been cancelled, as per my request. So thank goodness they must still have been checking messages!

I didn’t think “we” (MSers) were going to be in the shiny new building, as I remember being a bit peeved, last year back at Frenchay, being asked for money to refurbish the old, abandoned building we were going to move into.

I remember thinking what a cheek they’ve spent zillions of pounds on a brand new hospital, but MSers are to have no part - instead being asked for donations to help refit one of the old buildings nobody else wants. Some illnesses are definitely “sexier” than others. If you have a chronic neurological condition, it seems it’s not considered “sexy” at all (in NHS funding allocations, as in life), so you don’t get to hang out in the shiny new building.

I don’t have to go 'til September. As a non-driver, I won’t have the parking problem, but I am worried about it probably being miles from the bus stop, and not being able to find it.



Hello, I read your post with horror, and great sympathy! I was also at the lovely Brams, and have to go to the new Southmead in June for a non ms thing. I was already worried about parking, and finding where to go. I can walk a bit at the moment, but walking whilst looking anywhere other than straight ahead is a recipe for Wobbliness and an ‘interesting’, slalom pattern usually defined by the width of the corridors! I found this, On NBHT southmead hospital website. Sorry, don’t know why it isn’t a link- on nbht site there are floor plans for every bit of the new ginormous building. I can see neurology on it, but not sure it is actually up and running yet. I really hope the taxi helps you, but once inside the building, it appears miles of corridors… if it helps, as the new Brams centre-joint with other neuro conditions, need to fund raise to fit out there new site(!!!), so Dr Cottrell and MS nurses are going to be in one of the original buildings, first building on right as you go in the Monks Park entrance. I hope they stay there till all the new site stuff has settled. Let us know if you find it easier /worse next time or tips on parking spaces! Sian

Hello Ellen I am sorry you had trouble with your appointment at our new Southmead Hospital, I have my first experience of it when I have to go to Monks Park House on the 4th July when I have to see my MS Nurse Carole Copestake and then on the 15th August, I have to see my Neurologist Dr Stevens in the Brunel Building which will be my first appointment in the Brunel Building. Over the last few years I had got used to attending the BRAMS Centre at Frenchay Hospital and it is very sad that Frenchay Hospital had to close also with me living in the St George area of Bristol meant that Frenchay was my side of town. Trisha x Oh dear, taxi looks like the away to go!

The buses stop right out side the ‘front door’ of the Brunel Building - maybe other places too. I don’t know whether there’ll be any closer ones to the other buildings - like the ones BrAMS will move in to! BrAMS is joining up with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia centres so I suspect they’ll make things easy! The old renal unit had blue badge spaces specifically for renal patients only. Hopefully they’ll do the same for ‘us’!

Plan A is - Martin isn’t working so he can drop me off if we can’t find a parking space. :slight_smile:

Oh Ellen. I have an appt at Southmead in July to see my neuro. I am dreading it. I have been visiting the lovely BraMS Unit for 12 years now and knew exactly where to park and where to go.

I am really sorry that it has moved from the brilliant Frenchay Hospital.

Shazzie x

Scanning barcodes snd pressing buttons to get directions to the correct part of the hospital is all very well but what about those patients who aren’t comfortable with technology or who don’t understand the instructions and can’t follow them or those who have a disability that makes using the system difficult? Technology is not always better and the hospital designers seem to have forgotten that.

The whole thing sounds like an absolute nightmare. I hope that by your next visit, the teething troubles have been resolved, the guides have learned their way around and everything runs smoothly. Good luck.

I didn’t know what I was doing after I checked in no part due to having walked from the multi-story car park and not waited until my after-walk vision problems had cleared. So I didn’t know about going to a gate! I would like to see the way the text on the screen is dispayed - hightlight the bits you need to know you need to know! It was all a blurr of grey on on light grey-ish.

I had it sussed for my second appointment of the week - physio for the knee damage. They were walking around calling a couple of people for quite a while. It was at that point I realised that your name appears on the big screen when you’re being called to your appointment! If you don’t get told that, you have no hope. Also, if you dont understand that each screen relates to one ‘gate’, you could be sitting around watching the wrong screen! There is no clue about this! I also gave up any idea of parking and took a taxi, £15 there and £12 back. For a 10-15 minute jouney…

The sad thing about the new hospital is that they’ve had to cancel 180 elective operations because of a problem with the air-flow system in some of the theatres. The ‘old’ theatres in the old Southmead hospital and Frenchay are still up and running and in use to carry some of the load. I expect this was a fall-back plan.

At least you find out very quickly that you’re not the only idiot who can’t work out what to do! Or park. My next physio is an 8am appointment, and I’m hoping there will be lots of free parking spaces!

ps - there is no obvious way to request a wheelchair!

If you’re like me, and resist asking for help when I’m really stuggling, you’re stuffed!

I’m off to BRAMS very soon and slightly worried about the whole parking situation so I have a few questions I’m hoping someone can answer for me: Is the BRAMS centre going to be based at MONKS house this June? Is the car park we need to use MONKS car park? If so, how many spaces does is it roughly? How far in walking distance is it from the car park? Is the BRAMS centre easy to locate once inside MONKS house? Looking forward to the replies, and Thanks