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June 2020


I hope this finds you safe and well. I have recently taken on the role of Community Engagement Officer for Medway NHS Foundation Trust and wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and make contact with you and your organisation.

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support for the Trust while we have been dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. I know our staff have been moved and extremely grateful for your encouragement and practical help.

I am sure it won’t surprise you to hear that our staff have been amazing during the COVID-19 pandemic, from those in clinical roles on the frontline, through to those in supporting roles. It has been an incredibly difficult time for staff and we are very proud of the way they have responded. They have not just been delivering the best clinical care, but also looking after patients with compassion, including helping patients and relatives link by using iPads, and by delivering messages from loved ones on special postcards.

As the virus began to affect our population the Trust quickly made changes to ensure the hospital was in the best position. At an early stage non-urgent appointments were cancelled and wards were reconfigured to ensure enough bed capacity, with 240 beds converted for COVID-19 patients.

During this time the hospital, like others, has seen a drop in general attendances and admissions. However, attention is now turning to the next phase as we look to restore services, over the coming weeks, while conscious of being ready for a potential second and third wave of the virus.

Meanwhile, at the end of April the Trust’s CQC report was published, with an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’. Critical care was rated ‘outstanding’ and end of life care improved its rating to ‘good’, although two areas, medical care (including older people’s care) and ‘well-led’ were rated ‘inadequate’. So while it was wonderful to see achievements recognised in some services, it is clear there is more to do in other parts of the Trust, and an improvement plan is now being developed.

It is important to us that we continue to discuss with you the improvements we are planning, so you can let us know how they impact you as patients and members of our community. Everything we do is aimed at improving the quality of care and patient experience. Although we aren’t able to hold face-to-face events at the moment, we look forward to the time when we can resume these engagement activities. Meanwhile, we want to stay in touch and keep you updated on progress.

Please do let me know if your organisation has any upcoming meetings – in person or virtually. We would be happy to consider how we can provide a further update.

Once again, thank you so much for your support, in the wellbeing, health and safety of our community and hospital. It is encouraging to see how we are going forward together.

Best regards
Bobbie Walkem-Smith
Community Engagement Officer

Mobile: 07852 714 954

 Reaching out on breast cancer

We were absolutely thrilled to be invited by the ladies of the Kent Khawateem Association to talk about breast screening. Dr Asma Javed, Breast Screening Lead explained how important it was to have the screening and how it could save lives. Women were urged to attend breast screening appointments when invited because, put simply, the earlier potential cancer is detected and treated, the better the chance of surviving it.

During our discussion women were encouraged to ask questions and speak openly about their thoughts on and experiences of breast cancer. We were able to address fears that some women had about breast cancer and the screening process, and it was humbling to hear the experiences of those who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. A number spoke very positively about the care and treatment they had received from the hospital.

The evening ended with a pot luck meal of over 50 delicious dishes; the Kent Khawateem Association has some very talented cooks!

If you are a community organisation and would like to work with us to get the views of your members and service users heard – or would like hear more from us and/or our clinical teams – please contact Bobbie Walkem-Smith on 07852 714954 or 

January 2018