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.
Help the NHS manage the peak – stay home
Across Kent and Medway we have been preparing to respond to the increased demand the NHS faces responding to Covid-19. We have been increasing the number of hospital beds with oxygen and ventilators available to support Covid-19 patients. Work continues to convert even more beds to be able to support Covid-19 patients across the county to enable us to care for our most ill patients during the peak of the pandemic.
The advice from Government, Public Health England and the NHS has not changed – stay at home to support the NHS and save lives. That means a long and potentially sunny Bank Holiday weekend at home, but it’s vital that the people of Kent and Medway stick to the rules.
Our fantastic beaches and country side will be there for another day. We need everyone’s help to limit the spread of the virus and to protect the NHS, so our clinical teams can save as many lives as possible. By staying home this weekend you’ll be saving the lives of others and allowing them to enjoy a Bank Holiday on a Kent beach in the future.
The NHS across Kent and Medway is committed to continuing to treat urgent cancer patients in line with national requirements. We are making changes to local services to allow that to happen and to provide urgent cancer treatment away from where Covid-19 patients are being cared for, including working with some private hospitals to run NHS services from their sites.
Urgent cancer treatments will be run from:
- The Kent & Canterbury hospital, Canterbury
- The KIMS hospital in Maidstone
- Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead (breast, skin and head & neck)
- The Spire hospital near Chatham
Patients are also still able to access Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy services where deemed to be urgent by the cancer clinical teams. Radiotherapy services are still available at Maidstone Hospital and Kent & Canterbury Hospital. Chemotherapy Services are routinely still available at most of our hospital trusts.
During this time of extreme pressure on the NHS, some services do have to change to ensure patients with life-threatening symptoms of Covid-19 receive the priority care and treatment needed. Unfortunately this means some less urgent cancer services will be deferred. Patients will remain supported throughout and our clinicians will continue to be honest and open with patients to keep them informed.
GPs and pharmacies open over the Bank Holiday
Both GPs and pharmacies will be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday.
GP services on Good Friday (10 April) and Easter Monday (13 April) will be available the same as current normal weekdays. Please phone your practice as many appointments are currently by phone/online and all appointments are booked in advance rather than walk-in. If you need a face-to-face appointment this may be at your practice or another nearby service.
On Saturday 11 April and Sunday 12 April, GP access will be the same as any other weekend.
Many community pharmacies will be open for a minimum of three hours on Good Friday (10 April) and Easter Monday (13 April) with some pharmacies being open longer. People should check pharmacy websites or phone for details.
Community pharmacy opening hours on Saturday 11 April will be the same as normal and for Sunday 12 April will be the same as any normal Easter Sunday.
Temporary GP surgery closures
Many GP and nurse appointments are now being done by phone and video links; and GP surgeries across Kent and Medway are working in their Primary Care Networks to co-ordinate care for patients with and without Covid-19 symptoms.
However, there may be times when some GP surgeries need to close either due to staff sickness/self-isolation or to carry out cleaning. If there are temporary closures of individual surgeries appointments will continue to be available either by phone, video or from other surgeries within the network.