We were involved in a workshop in early Spring 2017 about the future arrangements for eye (ophthalmology) services provided by the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), including the location of services. Since then outpatient eye services, including the Urgent Eye Clinic, have moved into the refurbished Copthorne building on the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) site which was previously the Maternity and Children’s Unit.
In 2015 we completed an Enter and View visit to the ophthalmology department in its previous location, Clinic 10, in the main
Outpatient building. Several patients expressed concerns about long waiting times and the appointments system.
We decided to visit the service again to see for ourselves what the new facility is like and find out how it is working, by talking to patients, relatives and staff.
- Although some signs have been put up on paths to direct patients to the new Eye Department, they are not easily seen and the main site map on the Trust website had not been updated at the time of our visit.
- The Eye Department facilities are spacious, clean and bright, though the upgrading and redecoration are not yet complete.
- There are many more clinical rooms than previously and enough space in the waiting areas to accommodate the increased number of patients and improve the patient flow through the department.
- Patients often spend long periods in the waiting areas, both before their consultation with the doctor or waiting for patient transport afterwards. There are facilities for buying drinks from a kiosk and vending machine, but these are not always available while the clinics are operating. There is a water dispenser, but it is not easy to find and there are no signs to it.
- Patients told us they are given no indication of how long they may have to wait to see the doctor. They are reluctant to go to the toilet or get a drink in case they miss their turn.
- None of the staff we spoke to in the Eye Department were aware of the Accessible Information Standard that requires NHS services to identify and record the communication needs of patients with sensory loss.
- Staff told us that the hospital appointment system does not capture patient/carer communication needs.
More information about the Enter & View scheme can be found here.
Please note the findings of this report reflect what we found on the day of our visit and services may change over time. More information about this service can be found on the Care Quality Commission website and the hospital website.