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Families and friends FAQs

Frequently asked questions about hospital care

Find answers to the questions most commonly asked by families and friends visiting patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB).

How do I get to QEH?

For detailed information on travelling to QEHB, which is part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, visit the University Hospitals Birmingham website.

How soon can I go onto the ward?

You can go onto the ward as soon as the patient is well enough to receive visitors. Every effort is made to enable relatives to visit as soon as possible. Seeing someone for the first time on the ward can be a difficult experience. A Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) worker will escort relatives on their first visit to the patient’s bedside.

What are the visiting hours?

Visiting hours are 2.30-7.30pm. However, every effort is made to enable families of military patients to see or speak to them as soon as possible.

Where can I stay?

Relatives are usually offered military-funded accommodation on site, courtesy of the DMWS charity. There are 33 beds available in the Alexandra Wing building and nearby flats, which can accommodate up to four family members. A family's stay can range from several days to weeks, depending on how unwell the patient is.

Fisher House, a new facility on the QEHB site, opened in March 2013. The 18-bedroom "home away from home", funded by the QEHB Charity, Fisher House Foundation and Help for Heroes, offers a supportive environment and allows military patients to spend time with their loved ones away from the wards.

When the patient leaves QEHB, they may be moved to Headley Court in Surrey for rehabilitation. There is no accommodation for visiting family members at Headley Court. However, the charity Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) provides a home for visiting relatives in Ashtead, two miles away from Headley Court.

Are the flats for visiting families furnished?

The flats are fully furnished, including a fully equipped kitchen, a TV and a DVD player. They are maintained to a high standard. Essential toiletries, towels, bedding, tea, coffee and sugar are also supplied.

Are meals provided for visitors?

During their stay, families are given three meal vouchers a day to use at the hospital restaurant. There are further cooking facilities in Alexandra Wing and trips to a local supermarket can usually be arranged, if needed.

Is emotional support available for visiting families?

The DMWS provides emotional and welfare support to families. A staff member will usually escort relatives on their first visit to the patient’s bedside.

Can patients be contacted on the ward?

Each bedside telephone has a unique four-digit extension number. If you call the hospital on 0121 627 2000 you will be asked to enter the extension number you require. You can speak directly to your friend or relative if you know their extension number. Patients do not need to use their phone pay card to receive incoming calls.

How are families notified when a service member is injured?

Service members are required to give details of the person they wish to be notified in the event of a serious injury. A Casualty Notifying Officer will contact the service member's next of kin. A Visiting Officer is then appointed to answer any questions you have and offer practical help and support during this difficult time, including helping with arrangements for visiting your relative.

Where in the UK are injured service members flown to?

Service members who are seriously injured while serving overseas are usually flown home for hospital treatment via RAF Brize Norton or Birmingham International Airport. Both have good transport links to University Hospitals Birmingham.

Is there a helpline for families?

Following a major incident, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) operates a casualty helpline for concerned relatives. The telephone number is 08457 800 900. This number is not for enquiries by either the media or the general public. At all other times, friends and relatives should call the normal Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) on 01452 519951. The JCCC offers emergency casualty and compassionate support in the case of death, injury or illness of the soldier or their immediate family.

Page last reviewed: 24/06/2015

Next review due: 24/06/2017