Bristol… I Am In Awe.

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.

Just in case you forgot to do the grocery shop at the market before your appointment.
A robotic transportation device, that talks and randomly changes direction, obviously sent from the future.
The hell…? Serenaded in your ill health.
I know how you feel guys.
A tropical garden.
Endless walkways, miles of floor space, elevators and levels… All encased within a beautiful glass dome that could double as a hotel complex.
Getting around in style.
A beautiful art gallery on the walk through the outpatient department.
Monkey business!

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? 



  1. November 4, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    I went to visit a friend of mine in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. It was massively different to how I remember hospitals and was much like Bristol – art everywhere and lots of space.

    I think it probably does help (rather than hinder) recovery of people. I didn’t see any robot movers though so perhaps that was a time traveler just interested in the home town of Massive Attack! 😀

    • InvisiblyMe
      November 4, 2016 / 5:36 pm

      Hah, yeah. I’m glad I got photographic proof of the robot as I would have wondered whether I imagined it otherwise! Glad to hear Bristol isn’t the only super hospital, though it concerns me how much difference there is between these and most other hospitals. Thanks for the comment! x

  2. sharon
    November 7, 2016 / 9:57 pm

    Southmead is my local Hospital. lt looks lovely except some major flaws! The car parking is atrocious. Apparently there will be more spaces at some point but at the moment it’s no joke trying to park especially near A&E. People seem to park anywhere which is not good. The other thing is the “gate” system. Like you say, letters don’t tell people which gate to go to and I found when people I know were in there that the wards where older people were more likely to be were half way along and the little train isn’t always working! It’s a long way to walk for older patients. Also, there is only a Costa to sit down and eat which is really expensive as the other little café isn’t open that often. Having said all of that, the wards etc are mainly individual rooms and are very clean.

    • InvisiblyMe
      November 7, 2016 / 10:43 pm

      I think I got lucky with the parking as I arrived early. When I was leaving after my appointment the car park I was in was jam packed, but I realised afterwards the parking is confusing because, like you say, they are in the process of adding a huge car park to help the situation (fingers crossed!) Thanks for the comment 🙂 x

  3. November 10, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    Wow! Living in the sticks, I’m not sure the last time our local hospital got a makeover although I can’t fault the dedication and hard work of all the staff there.

    • InvisiblyMe
      November 11, 2016 / 9:19 am

      There are a lot that could do with a bit of a make-over, but more important are the services offered and staff, as you mentioned. Bristol is certainly impressive as far as looks and size go! Thanks for the comment =]

  4. December 2, 2016 / 10:14 pm

    I would love to visit Bristol!! Great blog!! Love it x

    • InvisiblyMe
      December 2, 2016 / 10:26 pm

      The hospital is wonderful in terms of its size, cleanliness and modern edge. Bristol itself is a fab city too; there’s always plenty to do and places to visit, I’m just not so keen when there’s a big event on as it can get incredibly busy! Thanks for the comment 🙂

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