'Too many patients' force a rethink over University Hospital of North Staffordshire entrance
PART of the eye-catching piazza and entrance to North Staffordshire's new superhospital is to be changed because they are being over-run by patients and their relatives.
But officials say the alterations at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire will not compromise their design.
Although the main building opened only in March, with its benches and garden plots, it has already become a target for criticism. Opponents say it is too big to allow disabled parking bays to be close to the front floor.
Golf-style buggies are having to be brought in to transport patients who have mobility problems from their cars to attend medical consultations.
But the fresh problem has arisen because more patients than planners had forecast are using the centre and crossing the piazza in front of the hospital.
That is partly because a programme to shift outpatients appointments from the hospital to community settings has not fully materialised – leaving tens of thousands of people still having to travel to the Hartshill complex to be seen by specialists.
A report by executives says: "A review of the area outside the main entrance has been undertaken and proposals are being considered to re-configure it to improve flow.
"The activity has greatly exceeded expectations because of much higher activity levels than forecast and the reduced transfer of activity to the community."
Moves are still being drawn up to transfer more appointments from the complex and into clinics set up in community settings, such as the area's network of five cottage hospitals.