All services provided by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust are fully open, but visiting restrictions remain in place. Anyone attending our hospitals must wear a face covering at all times. This is to protect you, our patients and our staff from coronavirus (Covid-19). For guidance on face coverings at our hospital, click here.

Please note, whilst health checks are carried out at the main entrances of our hospital sites you may be required to queue. Although marquees are in place to protect people from the elements, we advise that appropriate clothing is worn according to the weather conditions on the day of your visit.

When attending our sites, please try and keep a two metre distance where possible and walk on the left hand side of corridors.

Here at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, the safety and well-being of our staff, patients and visitors is our priority and our teams across the organisation have been working hard to adapt our sites to ensure your safety when attending any of our sites during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We understand people may have concerns about attending a hospital appointment or undergoing surgery during these challenging times, but we want to assure you our hospitals are safe thanks to the additional infection prevention and social distancing measures we have put in place across our sites. Watch our video below to see what changes we have made to keep you safe when attending our sites.

 

Patient Appointments

Our priority over the last six months has been ensuring that everyone who needs cancer treatment and urgent and essential care has been able to get it when they need it.

To reduce the spread of Covid-19 by avoiding unnecessary contact, some non-urgent appointments, diagnostic procedures and planned surgeries were postponed or replaced with telephone or video consultations.

We are now bringing back some of these face-to-face services but only where that can be done safely and where the need of the patient has been risk assessed by the clinical team. The virus is still circulating and we don’t want to put our patients, the public or our staff at greater risk.

We will ask patients to attend face-to-face services only when it is clinically necessary. Where possible, appointments will continue to be offered using remote services such as a video or phone consultation. If you have been contacted by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to undertake your appointments via this method please click here, and follow the instructions received. Further information is also available on the following page. 

Our booking teams are working hard to reschedule any outstanding appointments and will contact you via phone or letter in the coming weeks. Please refrain from phoning the booking team at this time for routine enquiries.

If you attend our sites then you must wear a face covering or mask and you will undergo a brief health screen at the front door to check your temperature and ensure you are directed to the correct area. If you are in a high-risk group and do not wish to come in, please get in touch with the relevant service via the contact details in your appointment letter.

You can view a list of FAQ’s for Oncology patients here.

The safety and wellbeing of our staff, patients and the public is our main priority. We have put the following comprehensive measures in place to help protect our staff, patients and the public when attending appointments at our hospital sites:

  • Safe zones – we have established “safe zones” and pathways within our hospitals – meaning that Covid-19 confirmed or suspected patients are not treated in these areas – anyone with Coronavirus symptoms is treated in a separate area away from patients not displaying symptoms.
  • Restricted patient and visitor numbers – footfall is restricted in our hospitals by only allowing patients and essential carers (please be aware this means we ask you to attend the department on your own or with one essential carer if absolutely necessary). Patients are permitted one visitor per day at a specified hour – see details below.
  • Temperature check – all patients entering the hospital will have their temperature checked and asked about any possible symptoms before they come into the hospital.
  • Face coverings/masks – all patients, staff and carers are asked to wear face masks when coming into the hospital. Please bring your own mask but these will be provided at the doors if you do not have one.
  • Sanitisation stations – have been located throughout our hospitals and patients and visitors are required to sanitise their hands before coming into our hospitals.
  • Social distancing – measures have been put in place to allow you to stay the appropriate distance from other people (this does limit waiting room capacity so please arrive for your appointment at the allocated time, if you are too early or late you may not be granted access).
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – staff attending to you will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), this is to provide protection to you as much as it is to them.
  • Infection control – strict infection control protocols are in place ensuring all areas and equipment are cleaned between patients.
  • Risk versus benefit analysis – the need to attend a face-to-face appointment has been reviewed by a senior clinical member of the team, meaning we feel the benefit of the examination outweighs the potential risk from Covid-19.

Visitor Policy

ALL VISITORS MUST BE SYMPTOM FREE AND NOT UNDER ANY SELF-ISOLATION CONDITIONS. DO NOT enter our hospitals under any circumstances if you are unwell – especially if you have a high temperature or a new continuous cough, or you are shielding for any reason.

Effective from Monday 6 July 2020, our visitor policy is changing and patients are permitted one visitor at a specified hour each day. Please refer to the following detailed guidance:

  • Each patient is allowed one visitor (close family or loved one only). Two visitors from the same household or bubble may be allowed in exceptional circumstances, such as for patients receiving end of life care or where the visitor themselves needs assistance – this must be arranged with the nurse in charge of the ward in advance by telephone.
  • Each ward is assigned an hour per day for visiting to manage visitor numbers within the hospital sites. Please refer to details below for specific ward visiting times:

Maidstone Hospital Ward visiting times:

  • Cornwallis Ward/Coronary Care Unit/Culpepper Ward/Edith Cavell: 2pm – 3pm daily
  • John Day Ward/Chronic Pain Unit/Intensive Care Unit: 3pm – 4pm daily
  • Acute Stroke Unit/Chaucer Ward/Whatman Ward: 4pm – 5pm daily
  • Pye Oliver Ward/Mercer Ward: 5pm – 6pm daily

Tunbridge Wells Hospital Ward visiting times:

  • Ward 10/20/30:  2pm – 3pm daily
  • Intensive Care Unit/Ward 11/Ward 31: 3pm – 4pm daily
  • Ward 12/Antenatal/Ward 22/Ward 32: 4pm – 5pm daily
  • Coronary Care Unit/Ward 2/Ward 21/Ward 33: 5pm – 6pm daily

 

  • Ward 32 – For elective patients on Ward 32 (Tunbridge Wells Hospital) only one visitor from the patient’s household is allowed.
  • Chronic Pain Unit – For patients on the Chronic Pain Unit (Maidstone Hospital) only one visitor from the patient’s household is allowed.
  • Covid wards – No visiting is permitted on Covid wards except in compassionate circumstances (such as patients receiving end of life care). This includes the Acute Medical Unit and Acute Assessment Unit at both hospital sites.
  • Lord North Ward – Due to the vulnerability of the patients, no visiting is permitted on Lord North Ward at Maidstone Hospital, except in compassionate circumstances.
  • Maternity Departments– A partner of a person in labour is able to stay throughout labour including in the early stages of labour and during induction of labour on the antenatal ward. The same partner can remain until discharge from post-natal ward. For people/parents in the antenatal ward, but not in labour, only the nominated birth partner may visit. To ensure we follow local infection, and prevention control measures NO visitor/partner is to attend a scan or any antenatal appointment unless the person having the scan is under the age of 18, in which case the partner and a parent/guardian can attend, or the person has a learning disability, in which case one carer can attend. Pregnant people are welcome to record part of their scan to share with family and friends following their appointment and a free photo of their scan will also be given to them at the end of their appointment. Should unexpected news be delivered to the person during their scan whilst they are on their own, they will be allowed to bring in one other person to support them. Three dedicated quiet spaces have been set up specifically for this purpose. NO children permitted in any Maternity Departments.
  • Neonatal Unit – one parent only at any time. NO siblings.
  • Paediatric Wards – one parent/carer to be with the child as agreed with ward staff.
  • Outpatients – due to social distancing in the waiting areas of Outpatients it is not possible to allow outpatients to have an accompanying person. Only those requiring assistance, and children, may bring an accompanying person.
  • All visitors must enter by the main entrance at Maidstone Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital and have their temperature checked.
  • Face coverings/masks must be worn – masks will be supplied if the visitor arrives without a face covering.
  • Hand hygiene – All visitors will be instructed on hand hygiene by ward staff, which should be performed at the beginning and end of each visit. Gloves are not needed for visitors. Visitors who arrive on the ward wearing gloves must remove them to avoid contamination risk.
  • No children under 16 are permitted to visit except in compassionate circumstances. This must be arranged in advance with ward staff by telephone.
  • Visitors may only visit one patient.
  • In bays, curtains are to be drawn during visits to provide a physical barrier between beds and visitors.
  • To help keep everyone safe, we ask you to consider other ways of keeping in touch with patients such as phone calls or video messaging.

Please note, our cafes at both hospital sites remain closed to patients but that refreshments are still available to buy from the League of Friends shop, Costa and the M & S Food Hall at Maidstone Hospital and WHSmith, Costa at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Emergency Care

Our Emergency Departments are open as usual and anyone who has coronavirus symptoms is assessed and treated by a different clinical ED team in a separate area away from patients not displaying symptoms. It is really important that people continue to seek help early if they need it. You can watch our 60 second guide on how our Emergency Department team have created new pathways to ensure anyone with Coronavirus symptoms are treated in a separate area away from patients not displaying symptoms.

Getting essential items to patients on wards

Relatives, friends and carers can still get essential items to their loved ones who have been admitted to our hospitals during the pandemic.

Should you choose to bring essential property for a patient to one of our hospitals, please make sure you clean/disinfect the items and that you place them in a clear, sealed easily cleanable bag.

When you arrive at the hospital please go to the main entrance and speak to the security team about the purpose of your visit. They will then direct you to the nearby Hub where you can hand the bag to one of our volunteers. You will not be able to access the hospital due to restrictions to non-essential visiting.

You will then be asked to complete a property checklist form, and to fill in the patient’s name, date of birth and the ward they are on. Both you and the person receiving the items must sign the form.

Once completed the volunteer will take the bag and the completed form to the ward. A member of staff will then sign the same form to say they have received the items. After wiping the bag down they will take it, along with the form, to the patient so they can check the items against the checklist. Once the checks have been completed they will then be asked to sign the form (where possible) to say they have received the items.

Please note, patient property will be accepted by The Hub between the hours of 10am and 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. If property needs to brought in outside of these hours, please speak to the ward manager or nurse in charge.

NHS 111

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

Coronavirus testing

The rollout of the national coronavirus campaign across Kent and Medway has meant that a wide range of people who provide essential services, as well as Kent and Medway residents over the age of 65, are now able to get tested if they or someone they live with have Coronavirus-like symptoms.

For more details click here.

Patient advice

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

If you have symptoms associated with coronavirus, you are advised to stay at home for 7 days. Please do not attend hospital.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.

But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they’re at home for longer than 14 days.

If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.

Only call 111 direct if you are advised to do so by the online service or you cannot go online.

The most up-to-date public guidance – including information about being tested for Coronavirus – is always online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus