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Frequently asked questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions which we hope you will find useful. If you have any suggestions about what we could add to this page, or if your question hasn't been answered, please contact our Communications Team on 01202 704394 or email communications@rbch.nhs.uk.

You can also write to us at:
Communications Department
Postpoint B43
The Royal Bournemouth Hospital
Castle Lane East
Bournemouth
BH7 7DW

What are the visiting times at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and are there any restrictions?

Visiting times at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital vary from ward to ward. A comprehensive list of all our ward visiting times with contact numbers is available here.

Please confirm times with the individual ward before visiting as they can be subject to change.

There are no strict rules regarding the number of visitors a patient can have, but each ward tries to stick to two at a time. We always ask that visitors ask the nurse in charge before visiting as there may be a clinical reason not to allow this.

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How do I get to hospital and where do I park?

Information on planning your journey to hospital by car or public transport can be found at http://www.rbch.nhs.uk/patients_visitors/travelling_to_hospital.php.

Income from car parking charges is used to maintain our car parks, support sustainable transport alternatives and a number of improvements that we know, from patient feedback, make parking easier. Charges apply to all blue badge holders unless you are a disabled blue badge holder with a tax exempt vehicle. This is in line with neighbouring hospitals and local authorities. If you are receiving very regular treatment at our hospitals you could receive support with your car parking costs.

Please speak to the sister or charge nurse on your ward. You can find more information about car parking charges at http://www.rbch.nhs.uk/patients_visitors/travelling_to_hospital/car/parking_charges.php.

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How much does parking cost?

We currently have 705 patient and visitor car park spaces at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and charges start at £1.20 for one hour. We are mindful that many of our patients, cancer patients for example, visit the hospital regularly for treatments and tests. For these patients we offer free parking when they come in for treatment. We also offer free parking for tax exempt vehicles, long-term inpatients and on a case by case basis.

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Is there a map of the hospital?

Hospital maps for both the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals can be found at the foot of each page of our website.

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How do I find out more about the Emergency Department and where do I go?

Our Emergency Department (ED) assesses and treats patients with serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should only visit our Emergency Department or call 999 in an emergency.

You should dial 999 or come to ED for a suspected stroke, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties and persistent, severe chest pain.

In Dorset there are Emergency Departments in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorchester.

These offer access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year where a doctor or nurse will assess your condition and decide on further action.

Please be advised of the following:

  • If it is not an immediate emergency, call NHS 111. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can provide medical advice and advise you on the best local service to offer the care you need

  • Less severe injuries and minor ailments such as sprains or strains, simple fractures, minor infections and skin complaints can be treated in a walk in centre or minor injuries unit which can treat patients without an appointment. Local walk in centres include Boscombe and Wimborne.

  • The Boscombe walk-in centre is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am until 8pm

  • Victoria Hospital Wimborne, Minor Injuries Unit is open from 8.30am-4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Click here for more details

  • For illnesses that are not life-threatening, you should first contact your GP surgery. You can still contact your GP outside of normal surgery hours, but you will usually be directed to an out-of-hours service. The out-of-hours period is from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, and all day at weekends and bank holidays. You can also call NHS 111 during out-of-hours periods. You can find out further details about our Emergency Department by clicking here.

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Who can I ask if I have a question about my relative's care?

You can ask the ward sister or charge nurse if you have any questions about the care received on our wards. We can also make arrangements for you to speak to the doctor looking after your relative. Please be aware that some information we are only able to share with nominated next of kin.

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How do I contact the chaplain service?

Our chaplains are here to attend to the religious and spiritual needs of patients irrespective or their beliefs, or just to talk with them. If you would like to speak to one of our chaplains ask a member of staff on your ward who can arrange this for you.

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How do I contact my local governor?

You can contact your local governor via our Governor and Membership Manager, Dily Ruffer, on 01202 704246 or by emailing ftmembers@rbch.nhs.uk.

Alternatively you can visit the Governor section of our website where you will also find information on each of our governors, how to become a member, read our latest newsletters and find out more about the governor election process.

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How do I find out which ward my friend or relative is staying on?

If you go to our main reception you will be asked to confirm the patient's home address or date of birth. Alternatively you can phone the main switchboard on 01202 303626.

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Where can I find copies of the Trust's Annual Report, Quality Report or Financial Accounts?

All of our past annual reports and accounts and our current operational plan can be found here.

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Where can I find out more about the quality improvements that the hospital is making?

You can read all about how we are making continuous improvements through our regular newsletter.

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How can I give my feedback about my hospital experience?

We are keen to hear the views of patients and their carers/relatives so we can continue to improve. We would encourage you to discuss any feedback with the ward sister or charge nurse or with the manager of the unit where you are receiving treatment.

If you would like to thank members of staff or a department/ward for your treatment then you can visit the #ThankYou! website here.

If you have raised concerns informally with the ward and you wish to discuss your issues further please contact the Patients Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01202 704886 or pals@rbch.nhs.uk.

Patient satisfaction forms are also available on all of our wards, simply fill these in and post them in the plastic boxes next to the wall mounted leaflets. Alternatively you can give your feedback online via the 'Tell us what you think' page situated under the 'Patients and visitors' tab at the top of the hospital web page.

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How can I say thank you to the staff who have treated me?

We are proud of the care and services we provide. We encourage everyone to exceed expectations so our patients receive the best possible experience. If a member of our team has impressed you, why not say #ThankYou! You can do this here.

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If I wish to make a donation or leave a gift or legacy to the hospital, how do I go about this?

There are a number of ways you can show your appreciation if you have received care above and beyond expectations. You can find out more here.

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Are wheelchairs available when I get to hospital?

Wheelchairs are situated in the main entrance at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital underneath the large stair case, which is visible upon arrival. They are available on a first come first serve basis, however if you ask a member of staff at main reception, they will do their best to source one for you. If you need assistance in your wheelchair a porter can be contacted and will transport you to your destination. We also have a blue buggy available which seats four people and is driven by one of our hospital volunteers. When available, this is parked near the large staircase in the main entrance.

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What essentials should I bring in to hospital on admission?

Information on what to bring in to hospital can be found in our day surgery and overnight stay leaflets.

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What will happen to my valuables e.g. watch, money, iPad etc. on a ward?

After you have arrived at our hospital any personal belongings you have can be locked away in dedicated patient lockers. If you are admitted to the Sandbourne Suite there are cupboards available to store your belongings. We advise you not to bring anything valuable, such as jewellery, when you come in to hospital.

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Can I use my mobile phone?

Mobile phones should not be used in clinical areas. This is because they may interfere with medical equipment or disturb other patients. Please check with staff before using your phone. Mobile phones may be used in reception and entrance areas, non–clinical communal areas and public corridors with consideration for others around you.

There are also payphones around the hospital should you need to make a call.

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Is there access for the internet?

Yes, free internet access is now available, provided by the hospital charity.

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Can I bring in a radio?

We do not allow patients to bring in radios during their stay because of the disruption this may cause. However, radio channels are accessible at your bedside TV free of charge. We advise that if possible, you bring in your own headphones in order to listen, but these can be provided if necessary.

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Do I have to pay for TV?

Television channels are provided by Hospedia at all bedside TVs. Some services (such as radio) are free but there is a charge for terrestrial and satellite TV access at the hospital. If you wish to purchase this during your stay, there is a pay machine situated near the Patients Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) in the main entrance of the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. You can find out more about the services provided by Hospedia at www.hospedia.co.uk.

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I have special dietary requirements (e.g. diabetic, coeliac, religious, vegan etc). Will the hospital food service cope with this?

At the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals we make every effort to ensure all of our patients' specific dietary needs are met. We have a dedicated dietician team who will meet each patient with specific needs, draw up a meal plan and then source their food and cook it accordingly.

We have additional menus for patients with dietary requirements such as gluten free (GF), kosher, halal and vegan, as well as those patients who need their food soft, mashed or pureed. Certain food items may require some advance notice or additional planning by our kitchen staff. If you have any questions about the food we provide, please ask your ward sister or nurse who will inform us.

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Can I bring flowers on to the ward I am visiting?

We have adopted a no flowers directive across the Trust.

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