Following the adoption of what it dubs ‘new, sustainable technology’, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is aiming to improve patient experience with visitor access to a new service which provides patients with ‘free, reliable, and guaranteed access’ to wheelchairs while visiting King’s College Hospital in south London.
The Trust explained: “The concept is similar to the public bike rental scheme one can find in London and other large cities across the UK. Wheelchairs are neatly organised in docking stations located at specific strategic locations at the hospital. Patients and hospital visitors can easily rent a wheelchair by completing a simple 20-second registration process. Simply inputting their phone number and swiping their payment card at a kiosk enables them to release a chair from the docking station that they can then freely use throughout their visit. Once they no longer need the wheelchair, they simply return it to the docking station and use the touchscreen to log the return.”
The service is free; users incur no fee provided the chair is returned within a specific timeframe. If patients need the wheelchair for longer, they can return it to the station and repeat the registration process.
Claire Melody, the Trust’s Facilities manager, said: “With this new partnership, we have been able to improve patient experience and drive efficiencies. The feedback from users has been fantastic. As well as saving patients time and effort locating wheelchairs, it helps the hospital save money and time, and has improved our carbon footprint via a reduction in replacement of wheelchairs across the estate over the past six months. It is also useful for teams within the hospital, as wheelchair usage can be monitored, the number is use at any particular time can be tracked, and it ensures that we maintain a good service for patients.”