Summary of report content
Healthwatch Birmingham evaluated the quality of service in waiting rooms in Birmingham's hospitals in reference to the environment, the waiting time, communication, accessibility, and dignity and respect. They started their investigation in autumn 2018 until February 2019, and conducted it in two stages; first, Healthwatch collected feedback directly from patients who were in hospital waiting rooms, then they held focus groups and developed an online questionnaire. Healthwatch worked closely with third-sector organisations and ensured interpreters were available for people with a visual and/or hearing impairment in the focus groups.
They found that in the majority of hospitals, waiting times were too long. In some instances, people reported that the waiting areas were overcrowded and the seating was uncomfortable. The experiences of people with a disability were less positive than for those without. In a majority of these hospitals, patients had problems accessing refreshments, especially at busy times and in accident and emergency departments. Several patients said that there was a lack of consistent and accessible signage. Some communication is good, but this is inconsistent across the hospitals, and it does not
always taken into account patients’ needs or preferences. The British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter booking system is not working for some patients. Although some reported good experiences, the majority of patients who used interpretation
services, across most of these hospitals, told us that interpretation services are difficult to arrange and unreliable.
Healthwatch Birmingham made several recommendations and intend to track progress made in six months time.