More parking, better wayfinding, transport improvements, privacy, quiet on the wards, improved waiting times and comfy chairs were some issues raised at the recent Westmead Hospital Redevelopment Project community consultation pop-up.
“We spent two days talking to patients, carers, families and visitors to Westmead Hospital about what they’d like to see in a redevelopment,” said Deanne Turner, WSLHD Director Clinical Strategy.
“We have the opportunity in building a new hospital to make the hospital and experience different and better for our patients and their carers and families.
“We asked them to tell us what’s important to them, and what sorts of things could make a difference to their experience at Westmead,” she said.
The team interviewed public, volunteers and staff and posted the comments on sticky notes to create a comment quilt – a colourful wall of ideas, opinions and advice about how to improve the hospital for consumers.
“Redevelopment has changed and it’s not about architects telling us what we should and shouldn’t have in a hospital,” Deanne said.
“These days it’s a partnership between the community, consumers, staff, designers and planners to ensure the new facilities meet patient needs as well as clinical needs.”
The most common request was for more parking.
“We knew that parking would be the number one issue, but once people heard that a new car park was planned for the early works, they were very supportive of the development and quickly turned their attention to other things,” Deanne said.
“They told us they wanted more privacy on the wards, more comfortable waiting areas, less waiting times for booked appointments, bubblers for free water, access to power and Wi-Fi for mobile devices, and improved transport and access.”
The pop-up also included a one-word challenge where visitors and staff were asked to choose one word that summed up their hopes for Westmead Hospital.
“The responses included words like “enabling”, “respect”, “imagination”, “innovative” and "reassuring”. People genuinely want to see the hospital develop into a world-class facility and many of them used that phrase to describe how they felt about Westmead,” Deanne said.
Patients and visitors were also unstinting in their praise for the hospital.
“We expected a few comments about the standard of care but most people had nothing but good things to say about the staff and services. There was certainly a feeling of pride when they talked about the quality of care they received, particularly from the nursing staff,” Deanne said.
“People in multidisciplinary care services, such as the cancer centre, said there was nothing that could be done to improve the service because it was world-class.”
More community, consumer and staff consultation sessions are planned for 2015 as part of the planning for the new acute service building. Early works including demolition for the old Coroners Court building and site investigations are already underway.