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                                                                                             July 2022

Bringing together local partners
in health and social care

A regular newsletter to keep residents, patients and stakeholders informed and involved about local health and care services as part of a new Health and Care Partnership for Medway, Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

In this newsletter: 

  • Ground-breaking agreement to support communities
  • Tackling the biggest health issues 
  • Focus on childhood obesity 
  • Improving care for cancer patients 
  • Covid-19 vaccinations in Sittingbourne
  • Thanks for your input on data sharing
  • Take control of your drinking
  • Better Connected: Friendly help for over 65s
  • National recognition for patient records programme
  • The vital role of breast screening
  • Let's get Medway moving

Ground-breaking agreement to support communities 

Medway and Swale are leading the way when it comes to joint working between public sector organisations and the voluntary and community sector.

The area is the first to have a strategic framework in place, signed by all partners, signalling a radical rethink on how the health and wellbeing of communities are supported.

The framework sets out a vision to 'build strong and resilient communities supported by a thriving voluntary and community sector, putting prevention at the heart of health and care services'. 

During the pandemic, resources have been depleted, but at the same time, positive partnerships have been forged at a senior level across organisations, as well as in practical terms where the skills and capacities of the voluntary and community sector have been invaluable.

Developed through the Medway and Swale Health and Care Partnership, the framework sees the coming together of many different groups with a common purpose and is the first such agreement in the county.

Nikki Teesdale, Director of Delivery for the Medway and Swale Health and Care Partnership said: “The framework will allow us as a system to radically rethink how we support the health and wellbeing of our communities through an authentic commitment to working together.

"We will build capacity and resilience in our communities, matched by mechanisms that ensure the effective delivery of the principles outlined in this framework, and a process by which success can be measured.

“We need to think differently and act differently, and put into practice this framework that stands alone, is meaningful and has its own energy to drive and influence changes that support our communities to thrive.

“Health is everyone’s problem; prevention is everyone’s responsibility.”

Tackling the biggest health issues 

People working in health and social care all have similar aims – to provide the best possible care where needed. Preventing ill health is also something we all care about, but in the past a lack of joined-up working between the different organisations meant it was hard to know how best to achieve improvements in the overall health of our communities.

Now, under the umbrella of the Health and Care Partnership, a large programme of work is looking at the interdependent issues that affect the health and wellbeing of local, residents.

Called Population Health Management, the programme is using data to understand local needs, demand and variations across Medway and Swale. It is taking account of all sorts of issues that can affect health, such as lifestyle, behaviours, housing, income, education, and access to green space.

Obesity is known to be a key factor affecting long-term health, and reducing childhood obesity, in particular, is a priority for the programme.

Dr Andrew Stradling, Clinical Lead for the Population Health Management programme, said: “We have been able, through the launch of the Childhood Obesity Taskforce, to engage with the ongoing initiatives in schools, local authorities, and the voluntary sector, to tackle what is a fundamental threat to the future health and wellbeing of our population.

“Data is showing a huge local increase in childhood obesity, which has long-term consequences that exceed the healthcare help and support children may ordinarily receive. This new, truly integrated approach is clinically led, and shaped by the data, to provide support that lasts into adulthood.”

The aim of the wider programme is to work at both individual and population level to prevent or delay the onset of long-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. By understanding what has the biggest impact on the health of a population, the Health and Care Partnership will be able to target funding and expertise on areas that will most improve physical and mental health.

Focus on childhood obesity  

A childhood obesity taskforce has been set up to address the issues faced in Medway and Swale. The next steps of this project will include:
  • Developing a charter that all organisations involved will sign up to
  • Providing training to staff members to empower them to have conversations about childhood obesity
  • Promoting the directory of services that exists in Medway and Swale and using this to engage with children, young people and their families.
The area is a significant outlier not only for obesity but also the knock-on childhood diseases for obesity-related conditions such as asthma and diabetes. The multi-agency taskforce has set a challenge to begin to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. 

Improving care for cancer patients 

Patients with cancer or suspected cancer at Medway NHS Foundation Trust are receiving some of the fastest access to cancer treatment in the UK after the trust achieved the national standard in four key areas of cancer care (two-week wait, 31-day wait, 62-day GP referral and 28-day faster diagnosis) for the first time in its history – despite the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The most recent performance against the 62-day target is 88 per cent which places the trust fifth in the country for performance against this target and the highest ranked district general hospital. Established by the NHS to provide a common expected standard of cancer care that hospitals should provide for patients, it means that the time from an initial discussion with a GP about the suspicion of cancer, to starting active treatment for cancer should be no more than 62 days.  

In addition, the trust is also seeing 92.5 per cent of suspected cancer patients within two weeks, placing them 17th in the country.

Since the pandemic began, the trust’s cancer services team has worked hard to improve the service it provides patients with cancer, or suspected cancer. This has included strengthening the leadership within the team and having a stronger focus on collaborative working with other departments in the trust and external partners, such as Macmillan Cancer Support. 

The trust also works closely with Kent and Medway Cancer Alliance, which brings together clinicians and managers from health, social care and other services to transform, develop and improve the diagnosis, treatment and care for cancer patients.  

Medway NHS Foundation Trust Interim Chief Executive Jayne Black said: “I am incredibly proud of all of the hard work of the cancer services team to improve the care that we provide for our local community.

"Receiving a cancer diagnosis is one of the most frightening things that can happen to someone, so making sure that treatment begins quickly doesn’t just mean better clinical care – it means greater reassurance and peace of mind for patients and their families too.” 

If you are concerned about cancer, please get in touch with your GP as the earlier it is diagnosed, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful. 

Covid-19 vaccinations in Sittingbourne

Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital is now open as an official Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) Covid-19 vaccination centre. 

  • Friday: 8.30am to 5.30pm for 12 to 15-year-olds and adults
  • Saturday: 9am to 5.30pm for five to 15-year-olds
You can book a vaccination via the national booking system

Thanks for your input on data sharing

Sharing our data is something we are all wary of these days, but when it comes to sharing health data, most people agree there are advantages when this is handled properly.
The Medway and Swale Health and Care Partnership recently carried out a survey asking local residents how they felt about sharing health data across providers of healthcare services.
Most people interviewed believed that the sharing of health data would have advantages with the most common themes being:

  • Improved patient health outcomes overall
  • Research benefits and helping to identify health trends
  • A more efficient health service and reduced waiting times
  • Fewer mistakes.
When asked about disadvantages and potential barriers several strong themes emerged:
  • Low levels of trust with health services and their management of data in the past
  • Concerns about inappropriate use of / selling of / abuse of data
  • Potential confidentiality breaches / fear of scams 
Most people are happy to look at sharing their data but only for specific uses (such as the targeted prevention of conditions such as heart disease) and only limited information.  There were a number of examples of concerns about sensitive information such as addiction issues, and certain conditions not wanting to be shared. There were also concerns about the increased number of services having access to data leading to increased risks of data breaches.  

The information gleaned from the survey will now be used to inform future discussions about the use of health data across organisations. Thank you to all those who were willing to share their views.

Take control of your drinking 

Whether you're looking to introduce a couple of sober days or cut down on alcohol considerably, this free app has you covered.

The 'Try Dry' app allows you to develop better habits in a way that suits you and your lifestyle. It can help you work on gradually improving your drinking habits to achieve a healthier you.

Download the 'Try Dry' app on Google Play or Apple store

Better Connected: Friendly help for over 65s 

Better Connected provide free support for over 65s who struggle with isolation and/or loneliness.

If you, or someone you know, is feeling more isolated than usual, why not give them a call? The team can support you to make new connections in the community, help you find new interests and build your confidence. 

To get involved, call 01634 333 013 or email

You can find out more here.

National recognition for patient records programme

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has successfully introduced electronic patient records (EPR) in the first areas at Medway Maritime Hospital.

The smooth launch in 26 adult in-patient wards and same day emergency care marked an exciting milestone in the trust’s digital transformation journey and the beginning of a transformation in the way that care is delivered to patients. This was the first of five phases of roll-out of EPR under the trust’s digital innovation programme. 
The new system will ultimately consolidate numerous existing patient information systems into just one – the Sunrise EPR system provided by Allscripts. The trust was the first healthcare organisation in the world to be using version 21.1 of the system. 

Once fully in place across the hospital, all information about a patient’s medical history and treatment will be available electronically, on screen, at any location, at any time. This will bring numerous benefits to patients and staff, including freeing up clinician time to care and improving quality and safety.
Jayne Black, Trust Interim Chief Executive, said: “This is a tremendous achievement for us. I am especially proud that we were able to deliver the first phase, from start to finish, within five months, without postponement or delays.”
The roll-out of phase one earned national recognition by making the shortlist of the HTN Now Awards 2022. Although the joint entry with Allscripts did not take the crown in its category (Health Tech team of the Year), it meant the project was recognised as one of the top examples of health tech team working in the country.

The trust is now preparing to bring EPR into other departments – notably the Emergency Department and Pharmacy – later this year.

Find further information here. 

The vital role of breast screening

The national breast screening programme is aimed at detecting breast cancers early before symptoms develop to save lives.

The proportion of early stage cancers detected through screening is higher than those detected through any other route.

Medway and Swale are served by a mobile screening vans and some clinics run from the three static sites. Eligibility is for women aged 50 to 70 years old (with the exception of those who have had bilateral mastectomies). Trans men prior to gender confirmation (who still have breast tissue) are also eligible.

First invitations are sent out anytime between the ages of 50 and 53 years old and three-yearly thereafter.

Let's get Medway moving

Residents have been taking part in an exciting campaign that will see Medway travel the distance around the world.

People who live, work, or study in Medway are being encouraged to become more active and move a mile in their own way as part of the innovative year-long 'Medway can' health campaign.

Medway has the highest overweight and obesity rates in the south east. More than 69 per cent of adults and 37 per cent of year 6 children in Medway are either overweight or obese.
James Williams, Director for Public Health in Medway, said: “We are working with our community to support all residents to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. We want people to use our great local amenities to improve their health.

“I encourage people to visit their parks and green spaces more. Walk or cycle to work, school, or the shops, instead of taking the car. We want to make sure that everyone is able to access opportunities to be active and have fun.”

Find out how you can get involved.
Contact us
If you would like to find out more about these projects, or would like someone from the Medway and Swale Health and Care Partnership to come and talk to your community group, please contact us at
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