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Medway hospital warns of long waiting times and high numbers of patients

By Amy Nickalls

Hospitals in north and west Kent are experiencing high pressure and are asking patients to consider alternatives for care.

Sites in Medway, Maidstone and Darent Valley in Dartford are experiencing huge pressures, with the highest level of alert activated.

The Opel 4 level means "pressure in the local health and social care system continues to escalate, leaving organisations unable to deliver comprehensive care.

Medway Maritime Hospital has been given £1 million to help ease winter care pressures
Medway Maritime Hospital has been given £1 million to help ease winter care pressures

The warning continues "There is increased potential for patient care and safety to be compromised."

Currently every hospital in Kent is at OPEL 4 level apart from East Kent, which is at OPEL 3.

The Medway NHS Foundation Trust has posted on social media outlets thanking people for their patience as they are being asked to wait a longer than usual.

Despite plans put in place to ease the pressure, the hospital on Windmill Road has been experiencing high numbers of attendances.

Meanwhile, Darent Valley Hospital is urging prospective patients to think before attending A&E after two weeks' of significant demand.

Despite an extensive campaign the hospital has continued to see people attending over the festive period with ailments not requiring urgent attention.

In the run-up to the festive season, Andrew Stradling, clinical director at Medway, said: “We are expecting increasing pressure and we’ve done a lot of work to increase staffing numbers and quality of care we are able to deliver.

“I’m confident we have the right staff in place and we’re increasing out facility size as well so we can address these problems in the future.”

Andrew Stradling says they are confident they are ready for the busy season
Andrew Stradling says they are confident they are ready for the busy season

The advice given by the hospital is to call 111 for doctors' appointments outside of normal office hours if the problem is not an emergency.

A trained call handler will assess symptoms and put patients to the right place.

Pharmacists are trained to give advice on minor ailments such as headaches, colds and sore throats.

The Health Help Now app and website can help check symptoms and search for local health services.

It will also recommend options for treatment.

For more information visit www.medway.nhs.uk.

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