The pressure on all NHS services across Kent and Medway has risen significantly due to the higher infection rates in the community we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Our hospital is very busy and we expect that to continue over the coming weeks.

The NHS across Kent and Medway is working together to provide support where needed and have cooperated to ensure we have opened more critical care beds. We’re continuing to provide cancer and other urgent operations and will aim to carry on providing other non-covid treatments as much as possible; but in some cases we need to move staff so they can support the additional critical care beds we have opened.

Patients who have appointments should still attend. Patients are reminded to please check their letters to confirm whether their appointment is face to face or via a telephone or video appointment which can be done from home. If we need to reschedule an appointment, patients will be contacted directly. Please note that calls from our sites may display on your phone as an unknown number so please try to answer when possible.

The pressure will stay on the NHS as long as the infection rates stay high. Covid-19 remains a serious illness which kills. To protect yourself, family and friends and help the NHS everyone in Kent and Medway needs to do their bit.

We all need to follow the guidance to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Hands, face, space. Working from home where you can. The rule of 6 and all the other requirements of being in Tier 3.

Crucially, if you or someone in your household show symptoms of the virus, or are contacted by the Test and Trace services self-isolate straight away. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you can book a test by calling 119 or online at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

NHS services are available if you need us. Spotting problems early is vital, especially cancers. GPs are continuing to refer patients to hospitals as normal.

If you need healthcare help and advice please use NHS111 first, either online via www.111.nhs.uk or by calling 111.

Before heading to any walk-in service please use 111 online or on the phone; and please do keep A&E for emergencies only. If you need an urgent care appointment NHS111 can now book a timed appointment for you at the most appropriate service including urgent treatment centres and A&E if needed.

We would like to thank all our staff and volunteers who are working so hard to keep our services going.