The Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting all frontline services and providing a co-ordination and oversight role as the strategic lead for the NHS response to Covid-19 in Kent and Medway. This briefing provides a summary of how the local NHS is working to provide the best possible care to patients and save lives.
(Figures are the position on 29 April 2020)
Testing services in Kent and Medway
Testing for Coronavirus is now available to Kent and Medway’s essential workers and other eligible groups. Through a mix of services run by local hospitals and the national testing programme there are a range of ways for people to get tested including drive through centres, home testing kits and mobile testing units.
The hospital run services will focus on testing of patients in hospitals and frontline NHS and social care teams. The national programme provides the testing for people in the wider definition of essential workers and the latest expansion of testing to the over 65s and people who have to travel for work who are currently self-isolating with symptoms or living with a symptomatic person.
The national service in Kent and Medway now includes a drive through centre at Ebbsfleet International train station, mobile units run by the military and home testing kits. Access to all these options is through the online booking at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The mobile testing units will travel to different areas across the county. Their location on any given day will appear as options when booking a test through the Government website.
An overview of all testing services in Kent and Medway is available here.
The number of staff off sick or self-isolating with possible covid-19 symptoms is around 6% across Kent and Medway NHS services and local independent sector hospitals supporting the covid-19 response. This is down from 7% on the previous week.
Clarification notes on testing issues:
Some recent reports that testing was only available in London, Ipswich or other locations outside Kent and Medway were the result of people using the national booking system in the days before the Ebbsfleet and mobile units in Kent and Medway went live.
There has also been some confusion in reporting that certain Kent based primary care assessment centres (GP hot sites) are doing testing. This is not right. Some look similar in how they are set up with marquees but none of the local GP sites offer testing.
PPE donations welcomed, but don’t get scammed
The generosity and support from local people and businesses across Kent and Medway donating and making items of PPE has been fantastic to see and is very much appreciated.
To make sure donations are getting to where they will be most useful, and to confirm equipment meets the standards needed for clinical use, we are asking anyone wishing to support local health and care services with PPE to start using our central distribution service.
The PPE coordination team tracks the stocks that services across Kent and Medway have and makes sure that supplies are moved around to where they are needed most. Sending donations to the distribution centre will make the most of your contribution.
Our PPE team is working with all local partners involved in Kent and Medway’s response to Covid-19, and is helping to supply:
- Hospitals, community and mental health services
- General Practice teams
- Care homes, hospices and home care workers
- Ambulance and patient transport services.
We also want to highlight the potential for well-meaning donations of PPE directly sourced online to fall foul of poor quality kit and outright scams. The unprecedented global demand for PPE unfortunately means there are a lot of bogus online offers. Please don’t take the approach of buying PPE online to donate, or giving cash donations to others doing this. The thought is appreciated, but there is a high risk it will not result in useable clinical quality PPE.
If people would like to make a financial contribution to support NHS staff, most hospitals and other NHS trusts have official charitable funds that you could make a donation to. Their websites will have details. Alternatively we know national and local charities which support health and wellbeing are struggling with reduced donations during lock down and would greatly appreciate support.
Find out more about PPE coordination and advice on donations at https://www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/your-health/coronavirus/ppe
NHS Kent and Medway community bulletin
The CCG has published the second edition of its new community bulletin, circulated to our patient and public engagement distribution lists. A copy is available at: https://mailchi.mp/970fc256170d/community-bulletin-issue-two