East Kent Hospitals Covid testing complete and the measures in place for patients and staff

QEQM Hospital Photo Chris Constantine

East Kent Hospitals has today (July 28) confirmed the results of its programme to rapidly test 9,000 members of staff for Covid-19 over five days last week.

The results show 15 Trust staff tested positive and are isolating in line with national guidance.

East Kent Hospitals Trust runs five hospitals and community clinics serving a local population of around 695,000 people. Main hospital sites are in Margate, Canterbury and Ashford.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Rebecca Martin said: “We know that while many people experience mild – or even no – symptoms of Covid-19, they have the potential to carry and pass on the virus without knowing it

“Testing staff means we can be sure no member of staff who may be carrying the virus without knowing it is working in our hospitals.”

This is part of an on-going package of measures to keep patients, staff and the wider community safe and minimise the risk of transmission within hospital.

Dr Martin added: “It is important that our patients and staff to have confidence that we are doing all we can to keep them, and those close to them, safe while they are in our care whether they are being treated for Covid-19 or using other hospital services.

“This included limiting the number of people on site, having a strict “front door” policy including taking temperature checks before people enter the hospitals, providing face masks for those entering and hand cleansing facilities, and testing asymptomatic patients regularly whilst they are in hospital.

“It is important that patients invited for appointments and procedures continue to attend.

“Patients can help minimise transmission of Covid-19 by following the advice to wear a face covering, regularly clean their hands, maintain social distancing where they can and following the instructions in the hospitals”

What you can expect when you visit

As some hospital services that were suspended while the NHS responded to the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic reopen the hospital will be very different.

Everyone has their temperature checked before they enter and if you have a high temperature you may be asked to return home and rearrange your appointment.

There are also hand washing facilities at the entrances, sanitising wipes and everyone entering must wear a face covering.

Staff will be wearing surgical masks, some areas are “one-way”, and staff are also asking people to walk on the left in corridors and to restrict the numbers of people in lifts and office areas.

The Trust is continuing to carry out many outpatient appointments by video or telephone, to reduce the numbers of people in the hospital and allow for social distancing.

People who need to attend for urgent or emergency care will be assessed before they enter the hospital, with different areas for people who are suspected to be suffering from Covid-19.

There are also separate areas throughout the hospital for Covid-19 patients and non Covid-19 patients, so that patients with coronavirus are nursed separately and by staff wearing personal protective equipment.

All patients – no matter what they are being treated for or whether they have symptoms – are tested for coronavirus regularly during their stay at Trust hospitals, and people coming in for planned procedures are asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Daily infection prevention and control staff briefings on the wards and matrons carrying out daily observation ward rounds ensure all members of staff observe the principles of best practice.

Reduced cases

The number of patients with covid-19 who have needed to be admitted to hospitals in East Kent is reducing and the Trust is now caring for 29 patients across its hospital sites, down from a high of 141 in May. In total 948 patients have recovered and been discharged.


  1. If one has the test today and it’s negative then at the weekend or before I could come into contact with someone who has the virus and they are not aware their are carrying it. Therefore what was the point of me having the test?

    • The test was offered to all staff groups that are employed by EKHUFT. You could pick up a kit or there were staff delivering to different areas. Equally, you can still book yourself into a drive through. The tests were offered over 5 days. There is also the antibody test. There was lots of comms via intranet, meetings and email. Take a degree of personal responsibility please.

  2. A friend of mine spent 9 hours at QEQM last week and was not tested at any time, so this report is inaccurate

    • In-patients are being tested “during their stay” not every single patient that comes on site

    • It was only open to staff. The advice for locum/agency staff was to book themselves via the drive through system. If a patient is admitted, they will be screened twice in the first week and then weekly. Make sure you have the facts before having a critical point of view.

  3. I attended A&E last Monday and stayed for 4 hours but didn’t have my temperature checked at any point. They were doing a great job of ensuring everyone observed social distancing once inside waiting area. I was asked at the entrance if I was having symptoms or had been around anyone who had tested positive by no temp check done so they were just taking my word for it.

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