What's it like being in a hospital waiting room - Birmingham City Hospital

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Birmingham undertook research about the quality of service in waiting rooms in Birmingham Hospitals following feedback from the public. This report presents the results for Birmingham City Hospital. The research was based on feedback directly from patients who were in hospital waiting rooms, an online questionnaire, in-depth interviews and focus groups with other third-sector organisations to collect the experiences of people who have a visual and/or hearing impairment. They spoke to 49 people about their experiences at Birmingham City Hospital.

Many of the patients who took part in this study experienced problems when waiting for treatment and in accessing services. They found that waiting times were long, and this was exacerbated by a poorly heated environment, uncomfortable seating, dirty waiting areas and toilets, and lack of refreshments. People with disabilities, including people with visual and/or hearing impairments, faced considerable issues, ranging from not being able to find space for a wheelchair, not being offered a BSL interpreter and unhelpful staff attitude.

The report contains 12 recommendations designed to address the issues uncovered by this research.  It also contains a response from the provider outlining the changes it intends to make as a result.


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General details

Report title 
What's it like being in a hospital waiting room - Birmingham City Hospital
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Birmingham
Date of publication 
Friday, 24 January, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 25 January, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 8 February, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Building and facilities
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
User stories
How was the information collected? 
Engagement Event
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
General surgery
Accident & emergency
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Tangible impact (not cost related)

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.