"Difficulty navigating the new Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH)"
About: Royal North Shore Hospital Royal North Shore Hospital St Leonards 2065
Posted by Beryl (as ),
I had an appointment with Community Health, which is in a different, neighbouring building to the main hospital. Unfortunately, my good friend, trying to prevent me getting wet, delivered me to the main entrance at the opposite end of the hospital.
I thought I knew where I was going, so without making inquiries I walked to the last of three lifts and, with others, descended two floors. The corridors are white and there is signage, but nothing that was relevant to me. I passed the Oncology Outpatients Service, and the next sign that I saw told me that I was approaching the morgue. I also passed an acute mental health facility. But there didn't appear to be signage for the Community Health building, and I was now lost and confused. I knew there was a path between the two buildings, but I could not find it.
I asked a passing person, who kindly said that they were also lost. Their badge suggested that they were an employee! I tried to return the way that I had come, but the door would not open. It required a pass.
In the end I asked a passing doctor. He suggested that I use a lift further away than the one I had come down. I didn't have the right pass to get up the lift. I was told to wait until someone else arrived who was travelling upwards.
Fortunately, an orderly and a wheelchair came fairly soon. They pressed the lift buttons, and I requested the entry floor.
I retraced my steps and sought directions at the security window. It was suggested that I walk around the outside of the hospital past ED, which may have been easier.
I do not believe I could be the only person who has made this mistake. Perhaps some signposting is needed to redirect outpatients seeking Community Health Services.
The windowless white corridors in the basements have a sameness that only the coloured lifts help to break. I discovered how easy it is for patients to move into 'sealed' spaced through pass-protected doors simply by moving through with another person.
I wasn't alarmed or scared, but I did have an appointment, and I was worried about missing my consultant!
I think signage should not only be for those who are where they should be; it is even more important for people who inadvertently find themselves where they were not intended to be.
After my appointment I returned by the basement route and, although it can be confusing in the area around Radiotherapy due to the number of warnings, the reverse journey was more intuitive and easier to navigate.