Patients’ praise for new Sheppey Frailty Unit

Date: 26 March 2023

Sheppey Frailty Unit opens

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has opened a new Sheppey Frailty Unit at Sheppey Community Hospital in Minster, and patients have been quick to praise the new service which provides care closer to home for people from Sheppey and Sittingbourne.  

Since launching in January, the Trust’s Frailty Team has cared for and discharged scores of grateful patients from Swale, including 83-year-old Beryl Costin from Minster, who was one of the first people to be admitted to the unit.

Beryl said: “It’s been absolutely wonderful – I’ve been so well looked after and the staff have been so caring and responsive. I couldn’t ask for a better experience and I would recommend it to anybody. My son and daughter both live on the Isle of Sheppey so they have been able to visit easily. At my age, it makes such a difference coming to a hospital that is closer to my home.’’ 

Significantly, the opening marks the first time the Trust has had a unit run entirely by its staff, offering access to the same levels of acute care, away from the main site at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham. The initiative will also help to create capacity to treat more elective patients and help reduce Referral to Treatment (RTT) waiting times, in line with the hospital’s Patient First improvement plan. 

Jayne Black, Chief Executive at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I really thank all our hardworking colleagues and partner organisations who helped turn the plan into reality so quickly, including the team at NHS Property Services. Everyone pulled out all the stops and I know this has been appreciated by patients and their families.”

Listening to feedback 

To support the opening of the Sheppey Frailty Unit, the Trust engaged with the local community and stakeholders to hear their views and gather feedback. 

Public Governors representing Swale joined weekly operational meetings and gave valuable input from a public/patient perspective. A briefing was held with Healthwatch Kent and Medway and engagement sessions took place at Sheppey Community Hospital, supported by clinical staff and Trust Public Governors.

Feedback was captured by email, in person and through social media. Most respondents said it was good to see the NHS making use of vacant space in the community hospital and providing care closer to home. They also welcomed shorter journey times and easier parking. 

As a result of this engagement, the Trust is progressing a suggestion to introduce a volunteers’ scheme to befriend and support patients at Sheppey Frailty Unit. 

  • Summary:

    Medway NHS Foundation Trust has opened a new Sheppey Frailty Unit at Sheppey Community Hospital in Minster, and patients have been quick to praise the new service which provides care closer to home for people from Sheppey and Sittingbourne.