When you need urgent help, the hospital Emergency Department (Accident and Emergency) isn't always the best place for your care. If you need urgent medical help and you're not sure what to do, go straight to NHS 111, either calling 111 via telephone, or accessing 111 online here >

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?

We continue to follow the most current Government guidance and advice, continuing 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 the 'Our Services' tab at the top of this website, and choose the service you need, 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.

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. 

Changes to services and clinics

Please click on the 'Our services' tab at the top of this website, and choose the service you need ot see any service-specific changes as a result of COVID-19.

Guidance on face coverings when visiting our locations

Visitors and patients visiting any MCH location for appointments or inpatient care, will need to wear face coverings to further reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other patients and staff. 

Face coverings can be made of cloth and be reusable in line with government guidance. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose, and that they cover the mouth and nose.

While we have a stock of masks to provide to those who do not have their own, we do expect all patients to follow national guidance and wear a face covering to MCH appointments. With that in mind, if you have your own face covering which meets national guidance, please wear it.

Wearing a face covering may be difficult for some people due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival. Please make it clear that this will be an issue for you when you book your appointment, or in advance of your appointment via our Care Coordination Centre on 0300 123 3444.

We understand that the use of face masks by clinical staff can be challenging for patients who are deaf or hearing impaired. Where possible, clear masks will be used by clinical staff to communicate with these patients, or alternative communication techniques employed such as the use of visual aids, for example, writing things down, speech to text apps or sign language.

We believe that these measures for staff and patients will continue to help to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 around our communities. We have also introduced measures to support social distancing within our locations, such as requesting you to wait in your vehicle until your appointment time wherever you can, dedicated entrance and exit points, and clearly signed, spaced seating. Please help us to help you stay safe, and follow national guidance and MCH instructions regarding your appointment.

Visiting your loved ones

We are regularly reviewing our visiting arrangements, based on updated national guidance. Please see this leaflet to help you to know what to expect when you visit >

Due to differences in location, staffing or logistical set ups at the different MCH inpatient units, there may be a slight variation to agreed visiting times i.e. time of day or day itself and the total number of visitors on the unit at any one time. Additionally, frequency of visiting will be locally decided. Visiting arrangements will be discussed with patients and families / carers on arrival, wherever possible and appropriate.

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

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 ten days. Do not contact 111 unless your symptoms get worse. 

The NHS has created an online symptom and advice checker here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/. You can also download the NHS Test and Trace app at the same page, helping the Government to manage and contain the virus.

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.

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.