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Background to pandemic

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On 12 January 2020 it was announced that a ‘novel coronavirus’ had been identified in samples obtained from cases and that initial analysis suggested that this was the cause of the outbreak. Public Health England (PHE) is using the name Coronavirus (COVID-19). On Thursday 12 March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared declared Coronavirus as a pandemic. A pandemic is a disease that is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time.

MCH and Coronavirus. What has changed?

As we all learn to live with COVID, much of our previous pandemic guidance is now being relaxed or removed. Current national guidance advises that we should return to 'pre-pandemic' status.

We continue to follow the most current Government guidance and advice and to monitor levels of COVID.

Please be assured that our staff continue to provide the safest and best care to you and your loved ones. 

Guidance on attending appointments / visiting our locations

COVID guidance has changed.

Mask wearing is no longer compulsory for staff or patients, except in certain circumstances, in which case you will be informed). It is now your choice if you choose to wear a mask. Some staff may choose to wear a mask through personal choice. Rest assured that if there is any clinically or nationally mandated reason to wear face masks, we will inform you. 

Our patient-facing staff continue to lateral flow test twice a week.

Social distancing and COVID-specific capacity limits are no longer required – seating in waiting rooms will therefore be increased to pre-pandemic layouts.

You are now able to bring someone with you to your appointment, and no longer have to wait outside until your appointment time – please be timely (not too early and not late). Our policy on late attendances continues to apply.

We expect our patients and their visitors and loved ones to wash hands properly, to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ when it comes to coughs and sneezes, and to stay home if they feel unwell. Help us to help you.

If you are worried about your infection status, or you are feeling unwell, please let us know and do not attend. You can reschedule your appointment. Keep us informed – help us to protect our patients and our staff.

Visiting arrangements

We are pleased to say that we are returning to pre-pandemic visiting arrangements across MCH. Darland House will maintain booked visiting slots, as visitors have told us it works well for them. Everywhere else will now have set viisting times, during which loved ones can visit whenever suits. Please speak to the staff on the ward or location where your loved one is being cared for if you're unsure of the local arrangements and timings.

Visiting arrangements will remain under constant review in line with national and local guidelines. 

Let's stay safe

To help us keep our patients, visitors and staff safe, we ask that you don't visit us or attend your appointment if you have:

  • Symptoms of a respiratory illness (cold/flu like illness) or you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days. Symptoms include:
    • High temperature, fever or chills
    • New continuous cough
    • A loss or alteration to taste or smell
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
    • Diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick
    • Muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
    • Runny / stuffy nose, sore throat
  • Contact with a person sick with diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Contact with a person with chickenpox/shingles or another contagious rash.

Please discuss other options with staff in these scenarios

Please also help keep patients, visitors and staff safe by doing the following:

  • Wash or sanitise your hands upon entering and leaving the building
  • Follow good respiratory hygiene by using Catch it, Bin it, Kill it for all coughs and sneezes

Covid-19 vaccine information for patients

Covid-19 vaccinations are now being delivered from a range of NHS services. Help protect Kent and Medway by getting vaccinated.

There is a range of places providing vaccination including GP services, pharmacies and large vaccination centres. In all cases appointments are by invitation; there are no walk-in Covid-19 vaccination services.

You will be contacted when you can have the vaccine. Please be patient and wait to be contacted.

People are being invited for vaccination based on a nationally set priority list. You can read about the prioritisation here.  

You can read more about the vaccine and how it is being provided in Kent and Medway here.

Supporting vaccine take up in our communities

On this page you will find videos from local GPs, clinicians and community leaders in multiple languages.