I made a trip to Bristol this Wednesday for an appointment to see a rheumatology specialist at the Southmead hospital. I was referred by the lovely lady I saw at the bone clinic, who diagnosed my osteopenia and chronic vit D deficiency; she said she really wanted to help me but didn’t know how, and offered to refer me to her colleague in another hospital. It didn’t take long for the appointment to arrive, and although I was very grateful to a. have been taken seriously and b. have actually received an appointment, I wasn’t holding my breath.
It was an early start to try to beat some of the rush hour traffic and allow for my complete lack of geographical knowledge. Having a Sat Nav does NOT mean I will not get lost. It just makes it a little less likely. I made it there in good time, though turning up at the hospital the first thing to stump me was where the main car park was as I was anticipating a sign to a multi-story, which I never found. Obviously, this hospital is pretty big. I still wasn’t prepared for what was inside.
I would describe it as a mix between an art gallery and a swish hotel. For an NHS hospital, my mind was blown. It was impressive to say the least, and I only glimpsed a small portion of it within the main Brunel building. High tech, high comfort, high atmosphere. Friendly receptionists and staff, and everything felt clean and fresh.
Bristol Southmead… For an NHS hospital, you left me in awe.
The only downside was that I didn’t have a clue where I was going. It was a bit daunting trying to figure out where I had to go, especially as the appointment letter didn’t specify which ‘gate’ or area I needed to go to. At least there were plenty of places to sit when I was exhausted, toilets, water dispensers and staff to ask for help.
Someone said to me that they remembered a water fountain at the hospital a few years ago (though it could have been the drugs given for childbirth that conjured it!) I don’t recall seeing one, but I only saw a small part of the hospital in the grand scheme of it.I likely missed many other sightseeing opportunities. Pretty amazing really, considering what I saw seemed to stretch for miles, with endless corridors, rooms, elevators, cafes, seating and ward bays within the outpatient department.
On top of that, the consultant I saw was professional yet down to earth and considerate; he seemed to know what he was talking about, took me seriously, and provided a plan of action moving forward. It was an encouraging trip, and I’ve just got to hope now that something comes from it that can help the problems, pain and exhaustion.
What have your experiences been with the quality of different hospitals, particularly NHS ones?