Coronavirus advice
Coronavirus stay at home advice

Coronavirus: information and advice

All NHS hospitals are changing the way they provide services to help the NHS manage the Covid-19 emergency.

This means stopping non-urgent operations – unless you are an emergency admission or need clinically urgent treatment, for example for Cancer. This will free up thousands of general and acute beds across the NHS.

Patients who are medically fit to leave hospital, will be helped to do so quickly. You might also be treated as an NHS patient in a nearby private hospital, you will not be charged for this care.


At East Kent Hospitals, as well as rescheduling non-urgent planned operations and procedures, we are significantly increasing the use of telephone and video conferencing for outpatient appointments. Please do not physically attend the hospital for an outpatient appointment unless we call you and ask you to do so. Instead of your face to face appointment, a clinician will telephone you on the date of your appointment via your given telephone number between 9 am and 5 pm.

If you are pregnant, please see our maternity page for advice on your ante-natal appointments.

We are also making changes to how we provide some services so that we can significantly increase the number of intensive care beds that we may need to care for patients with Covid-19.

From next week East Kent Hospitals are making alternative arrangements for Stroke services to move to Kent and Canterbury Hospital. From mid-April Cancer surgery will also be provided at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital or local private hospitals (no cost), depending on the type of surgery needed.

This situation will remain under review throughout the NHS response to coronavirus. These are temporary measures and not early implementation of long-term reorganisations.

Our services are also being provided by different teams and wards, to separate patients who are unaffected by the virus from those with suspected or confirmed coronavirus.

Our staff are practised and skilled in treating patients with infectious diseases and we are following the national guidance and procedures for caring for them.

Visiting restrictions in hospital

In line with national guidelines on visiting, we are unable to allow any visiting in our hospitals until further notice.

The only exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit are:

• The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care

• You are the birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour.

• You are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child.

We understand that this is a very difficult situation for you and your loved one. Please find other ways of keeping in touch with your loved one in hospital, like phone and video calls.

Thank you for helping us keep patients safe. 

Please follow all our infection control measures if you need to come to hospital:

  • you should not come to the hospital if you are feeling unwell, including with cold or flu symptoms
  • wash or gel your hands as soon as you enter a ward or unit.
Handwashing poster advice

Patient advice

If you have symptoms associated with coronavirus including a new continuous cough and a high temperature, you are advised to stay at home for 7 days. Please do not attend hospital.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.

But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days. 

If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do. 

Only call 111 direct if you are advised to do so by the online service or you cannot go online.

The most up-to-date public guidance is always online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Further information

Please see our maternity page for specific information and guidance for expectant mums.