Making our hospital accessible

Accessibility at Benenden Hospital

According to Scope, there are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. This includes people with physical, sensory, learning or psychiatric impairments as well as other long-term health conditions.

It’s important to us that every patient and visitor is able to access our CQC Outstanding rated hospital, our facilities (including our website) and the treatments and services that we offer. We’re committed to ensuring that your time with us is as safe and comfortable as possible.

We understand that planning a trip to hospital can take hours and that visiting somewhere new - only to find out that access wasn’t what you expected - can be very stressful. So, to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December) we’ve put together a guide to visiting our hospital.

Before you arrive

Our Patient Administration teams will contact you with information about your appointment or treatment.

If you have any special requirements, please call us on 01580 240 333. We can help by providing:

  • A sign language specialist
  • Leaflets in Braille or large print
  • Help with getting around the hospital
  • Somewhere quiet to wait if, for example, you have high levels of anxiety
  • A chaperone or someone to accompany you

Coming to the hospital

Our hospital was redeveloped in 2017 with accessibility in mind.

We provide plenty of free disabled parking close to the main hospital building with ramps down to the main entrance - or a drop-off point at the front of the hospital. Our publicly accessible areas are well-lit and obstacle-free.

We welcome assistance dogs and guide dogs.

Arriving at the hospital

Our main entrance is fully accessible for wheelchair users. It has an automatic door system with an intercom (for out of hours) and push buttons at varying heights.

When you arrive at our main reception, you’ll be welcomed by our team. Induction hearing loops (check areas) are installed and our Perspex shields have microphones and speakers. There is a wheelchair-friendly area at reception.

Getting around the building

Our signage makes it easy for you to get around the hospital and it’s been designed to comply with visual guidelines on contrast and colour.

If you need to use the loo, our DDA (Disability Discrimination Act)-compliant accessible toilets are laid out so that everything you need is within reach, including grab rails and an alarm. You won’t need a key to access these facilities, and the door locks are easy to use.

You’ll be called to your appointment by our patient calling screens, which will both announce and display your name (unless you have asked us not to, in which case a member of staff will collect you).

If you can’t manage the stairs, you can use our spacious lifts which have automatic voice announcements and tactile buttons. The doors of our Outpatients rooms are wide enough to accommodate a standard 900mm wheelchair.

During your appointment

During your consultation, the procedure or treatment will be fully explained and you’ll be able to ask any questions you may have in order for you to give consent to proceed. If you need your Consultant to explain any medical terminology or you’re unsure how to take any medication you’ve been prescribed, please ask them. They are happy to take a bit of extra time to explain things to you.

During your treatment

If you’re visiting us as an outpatient, we can provide fully adjustable couches. In our wards, we have a range of specialist beds that adapt to the needs of most of our patients.

After your appointment

Once your appointment or treatment is over, we can help with transport arrangements including booking you a taxi or escorting you to your car. Our porters are on hand to help, so please let a member of staff know if you need assistance.

If you’d like to find out more about visiting our hospital, view our information for patients and visitors, call us on 01580 240 333 or email KentReception@benenden.org.uk.

Published on 03 December 2021