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People aged 18 plus, and from all walks of life, are being encouraged to join the Patients’ Voice group to help improve Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s outpatients’ services.

Members meet once a month and provide input on all areas including:

  • Environment – such as the refurbishment of clinic areas including improving aesthetics – painting, signage and patient information displays.
  • Virtual consultation appointments which allow patients to have a video call with their clinician from the comfort of their own home.
  • Clinic start and finish times to help reduce clinic delays.
  • Patient flow systems so patients are directed to the right department.
  • Telephone systems so calls can be answered as quickly as possible.
  • Patient experience surveys to capture patient feedback and improve services further.

Isabel Gilbert, Assistant General Manager for Outpatients, said: “Meetings are currently held virtually due to the pandemic, but once lockdown restrictions ease, or are lifted; members of the group will be invited to be involved in walk arounds at our hospital sites and trialling new systems implemented by the Trust.

“Members can also choose the areas they would like to be part of to ensure we capitalise on their strengths and interests.”

John Stockham, 73, from Larkfield, became a member of the group last year.

He said: “Over the last five or six years I have benefited from superb treatment from the NHS, which still continues.  Although a hackneyed cliché, I wanted to give something back so I became a volunteer in the Emergency Department at Maidstone Hospital.

“When Covid-19 struck, my volunteering had to be suspended, so I thought my various experiences as a hospital patient, as well as chairing my medical practice patient participation group, would serve me well in the role.

“I am already enjoying participating in several project areas, with a view to making a positive and welcome difference to patients’ experience of attending hospitals in west Kent.”

Harry Clarke, 73, from Maidstone, who is also a member of the group, said: “I started working as a volunteer for the Trust in 2016 but personal circumstances meant I was already using the Trust’s Outpatients’ services so I decided to join the group as I believed my experiences could benefit the team.”

For more information, or to join the group, please email the outpatients’ team on