A new Facebook group has been launched to support west Kent residents who received treatment for Covid-19 at Maidstone Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Launched in February by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in partnership with Healthwatch Kent, the MTW Covid-19 Experience Group is believed to be the first of its kind to be set up by an acute trust in Kent.

The Facebook group is a safe place where former patients can chat with people about their hospital experience. The Trust’s clinical teams also work with Healthwatch Kent to provide members with information and support for their recovery.

A flier promoting the group will be handed to patients upon discharge.

Joining the group is quick and easy. Former patients simply need to log into, or create an account on Facebook, search for ‘MTW Covid-19 Experience Group’ and click join before answering three questions – which hospital they were treated in, when they were treated and the area they live in.

Nikki Lewis, MTW NHS Trust’s Interim Patient Experience Lead, said: “Creating a peer support group for those recovering from Covid-19 who are no longer under the care of MTW, means they can connect with likeminded people in one place and talk freely about their experience overall.

“Although each patient’s experience of Covid-19 is different the members of the group have all been hospitalised and gone through an extremely difficult and worrying time in their lives.

“Sharing their experiences in the group will not only help them but also help MTW and Healthwatch Kent to understand any issues and make improvements to its services and the care it provides to people who may be admitted to our hospitals with Covid-19 in the future.”

Robbie Goatham, Healthwatch Kent Manager, said: “We know from chatting to people who have had Covid-19, that it can be a lonely experience. We also know that some people are still struggling several months on.

“This new group will enable people to connect with others who have been in a similar situation and provide support for their ongoing recovery. We’re looking forward to welcoming people and understanding more about what it’s been like for them.”