Thanks to donations, Leeds Hospitals Charity have been able to provide £25,549 of funding to purchase 30 bespoke wheelchairs for the dedicated use of patients and visitors to St James’s University Hospital.

The new wheelchairs are currently available from a devoted holding area in the Gledhow Wing entrance, giving easy access for visitors to make use of them as soon as they arrive at the hospital. This also frees up capacity for the existing wheelchairs used by hospital porters to move patients.

After gathering patient feedback, it was revealed that 88% of those asked believed wheelchairs should be supplied at hospital entrances for patient and visitor use.

Over half of those asked also stated that they had seen patients having difficulty accessing wheelchairs when needed, causing frustration and anxiety, and in some cases, made them late for appointments and treatment.

Working closely with the medical physics team, the wheelchairs have also been fitted with a device that allows them to be located around the St James’s site. This allows the team to track the ‘live’ location of the equipment so they can be easily returned to the holding area for patient use.

David Smith, Patient Environment Facilities Manager at Leeds Teaching Hospitals said, “The Gledhow Wing is home to wards that look after elderly patients, as well as the maternity unit, so having wheelchairs easily available is crucial. We’ve had women give birth in the foyer while people are running round looking for a wheelchair to get them up to the maternity ward!

“The tracker technology is a massive step forward and we would like to thank Dean Plews and Tim Hutchinson from the Medical Physics team for their support in making this happen.”