Patients give their verdict on Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The views of patients and their loved ones, and how they are cared for at one of Norfolk’s hospitals, are revealed in a new report.

Caring staff, good communication, frustration at waiting times, and a lack of parking were among the themes in the views of over 500 people collated during a week at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

It was the first stage in Healthwatch Norfolk’s Three Hospitals Three Weeks campaign which saw the organisation’s team spend time at the QEH, James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to gather detailed feedback on people’s experiences.

This will all then be analysed and collated in a series of reports, with the QEH document the first to be published which pulls together views gathered between May 22 and 26 this year.

Some of the key themes included:


  • Patients and their loved ones saying communication was good with 90 per cent saying it was easy to find your way around the building.


  • Staff were praised for being kind, helpful and friendly, and some patients said the QEH team “went above and beyond for them.” Eight in ten people rated Outpatients care as five out of five, although that dropped to 56 per cent for those in the Emergency Department.


  • Concerns about parking were raised including not enough disabled spaces, payment on arrival when it was hard to estimate how long a space was needed, and bays not being wide enough.


  • Frustration at Emergency Department waiting times with around a quarter of people saying they were longer than expected, and the comfort of the waiting rooms needing improvement with stuffy conditions, uncomfortable chairs, and a broken drinks machine making it challenging to stay hydrated.


  • Care on wards was positive in most cases, with 84 per cent being kept up to date on their care and 77 per cent saying they felt able to ask staff any questions.


  • Outpatients’ teams were praised for explaining care well, and 98 per cent of patients said their letters contained enough information pre-appointment.


  • Mixed views about waiting times for clinics with some people unconcerned, while others were frustrated they had to wait a long while or the clinics were running late.


The report is being published and anyone can read the full document by clicking here.

Further reports are being published for the other two hospitals, and then key themes discovered across all three will be collated and analysed for a final document which will also be published and shared with senior leaders across the NHS locally, regionally, and nationally.

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk, said: “Three Hospitals Three Weeks is a first for us and a first for the Healthwatch network. The aim was to talk to people across as many wards, clinics, and public areas of hospitals as we could. Patients, their families, carers, and friends were honest and constructive with us, with hundreds taking the time to share their experiences and we are very grateful to everyone who did.

“These documents also give recommendations for senior hospital staff to act on based on what we found, and we will also be monitoring these action points to track progress.

“Work like this cannot happen without the help and support of staff and patients and we are very grateful for this. Healthwatch Norfolk is also aiming to expand this project and model of working to other health and social care organisations in coming months.”