Three Hospitals Three Weeks – patient experience at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital

During the week 22nd to 26th May 2023, we visited The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn every day to find out about patient experience. We wanted to find out what was working well and what could be better. We visited outpatient clinics, patients on wards, and Accident and Emergency to speak with patients, their carers, and their visitors. While we were there we made observations and spoke to staff about their experiences too. The surveys were also available online until the end of July 2023 for people who could not share their feedback with us during that week. The visit formed part of our Three Hospitals Three Weeks project which saw Healthwatch Norfolk visit the Queen Elizabeth, James Paget University Hospital, and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for a week each.

Most people we heard from were happy with their experience at the hospital. We heard that they were often able to find their way around the hospital and information about their care was explained to them in a way they understand.

Staff were praised for being kind, helpful, and friendly and some patients told us about experiences where they went above and beyond for them. The main suggestion for improvement we heard about was around parking, this included not having enough spaces including disabled spaces, having to pay when they arrive especially when they did not always know how long they would be at the hospital, and the bays not being wide enough. We are aware that work has begun at the hospital to build a new multi-storey car park.

In Accident and Emergency patients told us about frustrations with the waiting time and the comfort of the waiting room including it being warm and stuffy, chairs being uncomfortable, and a broken drinks machine.

On inpatient wards we heard that most people felt well communicated with and that they could easily contact someone if they had any questions. However, we heard that some food choices were limited for people with specialist dietary requirements. We also heard some specific suggestions for improving comfort on the ward such as having a television or phone on wards, longer gowns for more dignity, and having enough toilets available for patients.

Letters received for outpatients’ clinics were often easy and clear to understand and included all the information that patients needed. Many patients felt that their care was explained to them well and they felt involved in decisions. There were mixed experiences with waiting times for clinics. One of the biggest frustrations was when they had to wait a long while or clinics were running behind.

This visit forms part of a larger piece of work where we are visiting all acute hospitals across Norfolk and we will write a larger report with recommendations at the end of all these visits.

Meanwhile you can download the full Queen Elizabeth Hospital report via the link.

Just a major thank you to everybody for their hard work and dedication.

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