The Kent and Medway NHS response to Covid-19: Working as one

26 March 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19 thumbnail news image.jpgOur society currently faces threats and challenges the like of which we have not seen in peacetime. This will require a community response that sees us act as one. The NHS is working in a unified way across Kent and Medway to ensure that as the pandemic unfolds we are able to provide care to patients by using the skills and commitment of our staff to the maximum.

Across all areas, our teams are gearing up and changing how they work to best provide care – from virtual consultation in general practice to freeing up beds in hospitals and huge increases in critical care; massive strides are being taken. All of our hospitals will have increased their critical care beds by a factor of four or more by the end of this week with more to come.

As leaders across the local NHS we have already seen the huge commitment and energy that our teams possess as we plan with enormous focus – this is not a surprise but is a critical ingredient for success. NHS organisations will need to work together to meet these challenges and work tirelessly with our partner organisations in the care sector and beyond.

At times we may take our roles and professions for granted – it is a source of great pride that there is a huge sense of NHS people fully reconnecting with the values and purpose that drove them to work in the health sector; this is demonstrated across all professions and ranks in our organisations. We also greatly value the support of local communities for our work – we will do our very best to support you and your loved ones as many in our communities fall ill.

To successfully manage the pandemic NHS organisations will need to make many rapid, but necessary, decisions to implement temporary changes to services to best care for Covid-19 patients and, very importantly, to also ensure that other patients who require urgent treatment do not suffer through delays in their care. We trust you will bear with us as we make these changes – speed is of the essence; we must prepare for the huge influx of patients that is already being seen in other parts of the country.

Finally, we want to thank local people and businesses for their extraordinary generosity and kindness to NHS staff and to emphasise the importance of staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. This will minimise the spread of infection and help your local NHS meet the inevitable demand that will be placed on it in the weeks and months ahead.

On behalf of the NHS across Kent and Medway:

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
- Louise Ashley, Chief Executive
- Peter Coles, Chair

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
- Susan Acott, Chief Executive
- Professor Stephen Smith, Chair

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Paul Bentley, Chief Executive
- John Goulston, Chair

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust
- Helen Greatorex, Chief Executive
- Julie Nerney, Chair

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
- Miles Scott, Chief Executive
- David Highton, Chair

Medway NHS Foundation Trust
- James Devine, Chief Executive
- Stephen Clark, Chair

NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group
- Wilf Williams, Accountable Officer
- Dr Navin Kumta, Clinical Chair

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
- Philip Astle, Chief Executive
- David Astley, Chair

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