The NHS across north Kent and Medway is currently experiencing significant pressure, with unprecedented levels of demand for Accident & Emergency (A&E) services and out-of-hours services- with local hospitals seeing more patients than there are beds for.
The local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which are responsible for planning and buying local NHS services, are backing Darent Valley Hospital and Medway Hospital’s senior clinicians, and asking people with minor illnesses or non-life threatening conditions to seek alternative treatment.
A spokesperson for the north Kent and Medway CCGs said: “With these high levels of demand, the system is under serious pressure and priority is given to those patients with urgent life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
“We are also urging residents to consider their options before visiting the Emergency Department at any of the area’s hospitals, which are all currently experiencing extremely high levels of attendance.
“Patients attending A&E with a minor illness are likely to experience an extremely long wait, with priority being given to those people with serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses.”
The minor injury units in Gravesend, Sittingbourne and Sheppey are open at weekends, and patients can walk in between 8am-8pm in Gravesend, and 9am-9pm in Sittingbourne and Sheppey. GP-led walk-in centres are also open at weekends in Northfleet, Gillingham and Sheppey. (Full details and opening times below).
Pharmacists are medicines experts who can advise on the treatment of a range of minor ailments and many are open late and at weekends.
The free Health Help Now app website and app enables people to check their symptoms and search for local health services. As well as recommending options for treatment, it will provide opening hours of pharmacies and walk-in centres, and provides maps and directions.
PLEASE NOTE: Here is a link to a list of pharmacies that are open
If you don’t have internet access or a smartphone, and need health help when it’s not an emergency, NHS 111 can give you free health advice, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can also seek advice from pharmacists and take advantage of NHS walk-in centres and minor injury units which are open most days except Christmas day.
Minor injury units and walk-in centres
Trained nurses at minor injury units (MIUs) can assess and treat cuts, sprains, minor burns, minor dislocation of the fingers and toes, minor eye injuries and remove foreign bodies from, for example, ears and noses.
MIUs cannot treat babies under one year old. MIUs are open every day of the year.
- Gravesham Community Hospital: Bath Street, Gravesend, DA11 0DG. Phone: 01474 360816. Open 8am-8pm, every day of the year.
- Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital: Bell Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 4DT. Phone: 01795 418300. Open 9am-9pm, every day of the year.
- Sheppey Community Hospital: Plover Road, ME12 3LT. Phone: 01795 879100. Open 9am-9pm, every day of the year.
GP-led walk-in centres
Walk-in centres are staffed by health professionals that will see you without an appointment if you have an urgent concern.
Open from 8am-8pm and you don’t need an appointment to see a GP or a nurse.
- White Horse GP Walk-in Centre: Vale Road, Northfleet, Kent, DA11 8BZ. Phone: 0300 0300 000. Open every day except Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.
- Medway GP Walk-in Centre: Ground floor, Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre, Balmoral Gardens, Gillingham, ME7 4PN. Phone: 01634 331177. Open 365 days of the year.
- Sheppey NHS GP Walk-in Centre: Sheppey Community Hospital, Plover Road, Minster-On-Sea, Sheerness, ME12 3LT. Phone: 01795 879199. Open 365 days of the year.
For emergency dental care, contact your own dentist first. At evenings, weekends and bank holidays (8.30am-1.25pm) you can call DentaLine on 01634 890300
Mental Health Support
Free confidential emotional advice and guidance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from the Mental Health Matters helpline on 0800 107 0160. The Samaritans are also there to listen at any time of day or night and can be reached by dialling 116 123.
Notes to editors
- Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are responsible for planning, organising and purchasing NHS-funded healthcare. This includes hospital services, mental health and community health services, ambulance and out-of-hours GP services. CCGs are led by local GPs, as member practices.
- Under primary care co-commissioning arrangements, some CCGs are now responsible for arranging GP services jointly with NHS England, which is the body that leads the NHS in England and sets the overall direction and priorities for the NHS as a whole. These arrangements are designed to support the development of integrated out-of-hospital services based around the needs of local people. More details can be viewed on the NHS England website: https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/pc-co-comms
- GP services and Pharmacy services are arranged by NHS England through contracts to provide services such as advice, consultations, examinations and treatments.