Summary of report content
In October and November 2019, Healthwatch Croydon undertook a series of mystery shopping exercises at Croydon university hospital. They used genuine anonymised appointment letters and attempted to find their way to the departments set out in the letters.
A majority found the letters unclear – letters used terms such as departments instead of clinics and names of units compared with the medical speciality name that may be on the sign, as well as ways of accessing certain points on the hospital site.
A majority of those following the signage found it unclear or difficult to follow: Again a consistency to what was on the signs and the letter made it unclear, but the display also made it difficult to follow. This affected the time it took to get to a location
There was little support for people who were lost or confused: There were few volunteers to support patients in finding their destination and more reliance on members of the public to help people find their way.
Toilets could easily be found but were not in good order. Accessing toilets is a key part of the patient experience for an appointment.
Lifts were seen as available, but there was some confusion about those which were for clinical access only.
There needed to be better route planning for those with mobility issues.
There were six recommendations about reviewing and testing letters; improving the readability of signage, directing patients to the best entrance to use; ensuring step free access routes, ensuring toilets are in good working order and supporting visitors that are lost.