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Here’s what King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital patients had to say about their experiences during week-long Healthwatch Norfolk survey

Caring staff, good communication, frustration over waiting times and a lack of parking were among the recurring themes of more than 500 people asked about their experiences during a week at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

It was the first stage of Healthwatch Norfolk’s Three Hospitals Three Weeks campaign, which saw its team spend time at the QEH, as well as James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to gather feedback on people’s experiences.

All of the information will be anlaysed and collated in a series of reports, with the QEH the first to be published, collating views gathered between May 22 and 26 this year.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn

Some of the key findings of the report included:

  • Patients and their loved ones saying communication was good – with 90% saying it was easy to find your way around the building
  • Staff were praised for being “kind, helpful and friendly”, and some patients said the QEH team “went above and beyond for them”. Eight in ten people rated Outpatients care as five out of five, although that dropped to 56% for those in the Emergency Department
  • Concerns about parking were raised, with some saying there were not enough disabled spaces, payment on arrival when it was hard to estimate how long a space was needed, and bays not being wide enough
  • Frustration at Emergency Department waiting times with around a quarter of people saying they were longer than expected, and the comfort of the waiting rooms needing improvement with stuffy conditions, uncomfortable chairs, and a broken drinks machine making it challenging to stay hydrated
  • Care on wards was positive in most cases, with 84% being kept up to date on their care and 77% saying they felt able to ask staff any questions
  • Outpatients’ teams were praised for explaining care well, and 98% of patients said their letters contained enough information pre-appointment
  • Mixed views about waiting times for clinics with some people unconcerned, while others were frustrated they had to wait a long while or the clinics were running late

The full report can be viewed on Healthwatch Norfolk’s website, with further reports set to be published for the other two hospitals, after which key themes discovered across all three will be collated and analysed for a final document which will also be published and shared with senior leaders across the NHS locally, regionally and nationally.

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk, said: “Three Hospitals Three Weeks is a first for us and a first for the Healthwatch network.

“The aim was to talk to people across as many wards, clinics, and public areas of hospitals as we could.

“Patients, their families, carers, and friends were honest and constructive with us, with hundreds taking the time to share their experiences and we are very grateful to everyone who did.

“These documents also give recommendations for senior hospital staff to act on based on what we found, and we will also be monitoring these action points to track progress.

“Work like this cannot happen without the help and support of staff and patients and we are very grateful for this.

“Healthwatch Norfolk is also aiming to expand this project and model of working to other health and social care organisations in coming months.”

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