We are continuing to provide community services for those who are considered (under national guidance and based on our local knowledge) to be a high priority. This means that we have stopped or temporarily paused all activity that is not classed as ‘essential’.

We will continue to support our local hospital to free up beds; as well as continuing to provide care in the community to our most vulnerable patients. We are working with local hospitals, GPs, social care partners, voluntary organisations and others in order to coordinate this effort across Kent and Medway.

Please see below for any specific changes to services. If you’re unsure about changes to the service you require, please contact our Care Coordination Centre on 0300 123 3444 and choose the correct option for the service you’re querying.

With this in mind, (and taking into account that our workforce is considerably reduced as a result of the pandemic) we have grouped our services into the following areas:

  • Care Coordination Centre – providing a single point of contact for advice, information, signposting, clinical prioritisation and scheduling of appointments and visits.
  • Services that aim to stop people from being admitted to hospital. These include MedOCC at Medway Maritime Hospital and our newly-formed (and purpose-designed) Urgent Response Service
  • Services that support people to leave hospital safely e.g. MICES equipment store, Integrated Discharge Service, and Discharge to Assess team
  • Inpatient units (Darland House, Wisdom Hospice, and Britannia and Endeavour units at Amherst Court) continue to operate as usual. However, we are working closely with our local hospital and care homes to free up hospital beds wherever we can, working together
  • Community Nursing and therapy services that provide care, treatment and support to adults, children and carers in their own homes (or in a clinic setting if not housebound, vulnerable, shielded, or in isolation). These include phlebotomy, podiatry, paediatric medication reviews, wound clinics, and emergency dental, as examples.

Our community teams are also supporting patients, carers and families, wherever possible, to self-care, to manage elements of their own conditions (e.g. insulin) and to encourage independence.

Please be assured that our staff will have the right equipment and protection, based on national guidance, to provide the safest and best care to you and your loved ones. Please stay home and save lives, and help us to help you.

 

Changes to services and clinics

Changes to the wound clinic service
The wound clinic are currently providing clinics from Balmoral, Rainham and Keystone. Clinics at Rochester and Lordswood have been suspended. Please call us on 0300 123 3444 to arrange your appointment.

Changes to phlebotomy service from Monday 30 March 2020
Due to COVID-19, with effect from Monday 30th March 2020 the Phlebotomy clinic will no longer provide a walk in blood test service. All blood tests will need to be booked by telephoning 01634 471098 to arrange your appointment. Please see our poster for open clinics.

Changes to anticoagulation service from Monday 30 March 2020
From Monday 30 March, patients within the community anticoagulation service will no longer be able to attend as  a walk-in patient. All anticoagulation  clinics (at Balmoral Gardens, Walter Brice Centre and Rochester Healthy Living Centre) will now be by booked appointment times only.  

Please do not attend any clinics as a walk-in patient if you have  not been  allocated a clinic appointment time.

We will contact you with an appointment if you are due to be seen in the coming weeks. Please call us on 0300 123 3444 if your require further information.

The Foot Clinic
The private podiatry and nail cutting service has been temporarily suspended until further notice.

We will be contacting all patients who have appointments booked to inform them of the cancellations and we will be back in touch as soon as we are able to re-book.

If you require advice regarding your foot problem please call us on 01634 471100 and leave a message or email us on medch.privatepodiatry@nhs.net and we will provide advice to help you manage whilst the clinics are closed.

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, 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.

What can you do?

Please ensure that from now, you are following this guidance:

  • If you develop a new persistent cough, a high temperature or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you should self-isolate for seven days. Do not contact 111 unless your symptoms get worse. 

The NHS has created an online symptom and advice checker here https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

Tell the NHS about your current experience of coronavirus, even if you have no symptoms. By answering some quick questions, you can help the NHS plan its response to coronavirus: https://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-status-checker

Any change to public health advice will be published here (on the NHS website)

Handwashing remains the best way to stay healthy. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, using liquid soap and warm water:

  • after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • before leaving home
  • on arrival at school/workplace
  • after travelling on public transport
  • after using the toilet
  • after breaks and sporting activities
  • before food preparation
  • before eating any food, including snacks
  • before leaving school/workplace.

Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak. Please see the list of useful links on the right where you can find the latest official information and advice.