Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at the Great Western Hospital

We receive lots of questions from patients and visitors about what to expect when they come to the Great Western Hospital and what help will be available when they get here.

We've put together this list of the ten most commonly asked questions to help future patients and visitors plan their journey and have a positive experience during their time with us.

We hope you find it helpful. Please let us know if there are other questions you'd like to suggest adding to the list by emailing pals.team@gwh.nhs.uk or call 01793 604031.

Arriving at the Hospital

What bus services run to the Great Western Hospital, Swindon?

Bus services 16, 46, 46A, 48 and 48A run frequently from the town centre, New College and surrounding area into the hospital, dropping passengers close to the main entrance.  For more information please contact Thamesdown Transport on 01793 428428.

I am Blue Badge holder.  What happens if I arrive at the hospital and all of the Blue Badge parking spaces are taken?

If you find that all the disabled parking spaces are full, please park in the main patient and visitor car parks. Show your Blue Badge at the reception desk in the main entrance of the hospital and you will be able to claim a free pass for the car park for that day.

I have mobility issues and will need to use a wheelchair to get around when I come to the hospital for my appointment.  Will there be a wheelchair available at the hospital to use?

Yes.  The hospital has wheelchairs for patients and visitors to borrow whilst on site and getting to and from their transport.  Please ask for assistance at the nearest reception desk.  A £1 coin is required to release a wheelchair.  You will get your £1 back on return of the wheelchair.

Your appointment

I am unable to make my appointment.  Can I cancel it online?

Yes.  You can confirm, rearrange or cancel your appointment on the 'Your appointments' page of the Trust's website.  You will need to provide the following information as a minimum to be able to cancel your appointment online:

  • Name
  • Surname
  • Date of birth
  • Type of appointment (i.e. outpatient or admission to hospital); and
  • Date of appointment.

I've tried calling the Outpatients Booking Centre during office hours but the line is always busy and I need to discuss my appointment with a member of staff.  How can I get to talk to someone before my appointment?

The Trust recognises the phone line for the Outpatients Booking Centre can be busy during peak hours, which can make it difficult for patients to get through.  To help with this, we've extended the opening hours of the centre.  The phone line is now open until 8pm Monday-Friday, and 9am-12pm on Saturday mornings.

You can also rearrange or cancel your appointment online.  Please see the 'Your appointments' page of the Trust's website.

I need help with getting to and from the hospital and have been told I'm eligible for hospital transport.  How do I book hospital transport?

A6. The Trust's Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service is provided by Arriva Transport Solutions.   For further information, please see Arriva's patient information leaflet.

To book your hospital transport with Arriva, please call: 0845 600 6068.

I need an interpreter when I come for my appointment.  What help is available?

The Trust aims to support all patients who first language is not English or who have a visual or hearing impairment with a wide range of interpreting and translation services.  For the full range of services available, please click here.

I was given a prescription during my appointment / discharge and told that I need to get it from the onsite Boots Outpatient Pharmacy.  I need to get it before I leave and don't have enough money with me.  What can I do?

The onsite Boots accept cash, cheque and credit/debit cards.  If you find you do not have enough cash or other means to pay for your prescription before you leave the hospital, you can ask to be invoiced for the goods.  You will be given the invoice there and then and given two weeks to pay it.

Please speak with the Boots counter staff for more information or call the onsite Boots on: 01793 791118.

Life on the hospital wards

I want to send a friend / relative staying at the hospital flowers.  Do the hospital wards accept flowers?

Many wards do not accept flowers now due to a slightly higher risk of infection, lack of space and the difficulty keeping surfaces free and clear for cleaning.  Hopefully people also find themselves staying in hospital for a shorter time and therefore the receiving of flowers at home once discharged is a good alternative. 

Please always check with the ward before sending or bringing flowers to the hospital to avoid disappointment (please see the individual page for each ward). If a ward does not accept flowers, good alternatives are fruit (fruit that needs peeling is best), squash, reading material and hand / face wipes.

What are the visiting times for the wards at the Great Western Hospital?

These vary from ward to ward - please see the page for each one: Wards and services.

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