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Hospital’s popular patient buggy service expands to help with ‘painful journey uphill’

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A hospital car park buggy service will now be running for longer to help patients navigate a “painful journey uphill”.The Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s car park buggy service to assist patients and visitors with mobility issues getting around the site will be operating for longer each weekday after a successful trial.The newly expanded team of 14 fully-trained volunteer drivers are now working in shifts to put on a 9am-3.30pm weekday service.

Popular patient buggy at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

This buggy follows a circular route from the QEH main car park, up to the Emerson Unit, through to the main entrance, and then back down to the main car park, and means patients and visitors with mobility issues should not have to wait longer than 15 minutes for the shuttle service, subject to seating availability on the six-seater vehicle.New signs advertising the service and bus stop signs are being installed around the hospital site, with some eye-catching flags put up in the main car park to promote the buggy.Since the service was piloted in September, operating a 9am-noon schedule, patients have been quick to praise the service, with some calling it the hospital’s “best ever idea” and saying it “takes the dread out of the hill”.

Patient buggy route at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Other patients and visitors have told the hospital through user surveys that:- “I am disabled and walk on crutches. Parking availability left us in the big car park so walking to the Emerson Unit would have been very painful. I was very grateful that the buggy and lovely volunteer driver was available.”- “Great option. It was service with a smile. Thank you.”- “Brilliant, helped a lot. Driver very friendly.”– “Excellent service very helpful, made appointments less stressful.”- “Saved me a very painful journey uphill. Excellent service.”- “Driver and helper were very helpful and kind, most grateful for their advice and directions.”The hill is the difficult-to-maneuver incline from the main hospital car park to the hospital reception, and it was feedback from visitors to the site who voiced concerns about the difficulty of walking up the gradient that led to the development of the patient buggy service.Members of the patient and carers forum were involved in the service planning stages and, by working with the QEH estates and facilities and volunteer services teams, were able to advise on how the service would best benefit users.Linda Purdy, associate director of patient experience, said: “We are all really delighted that the patient buggy is making such a difference to people and by extending the hours we will be able to help even more people get to where they need to go with greater ease.“We will continue to review the service and see how it can be further developed over time and as the weather improves.”Jo Rowe, voluntary services manager, added: “Our fantastic team of volunteer drivers and helpers thoroughly enjoy delivering this service.“So many from our army of volunteers at the QEH have wanted to be involved with it and the great feedback they receive from those it is helping has been truly heart-warming.”

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