Our main shop is currently open to NHS Staff (including contractors) only, although we can serve members of the public from the doorway. We do not expect this to change with the upcoming relaxation of restrictions and will, in all likelihood, continue to operate in this way for quite some time. Whilst we understand that this may be frustrating for some people, given our location it is the most sensible approach.
Our seating area has reopened, but it is intended for short visits only. Please do not spend more time within the hospital than is absolutely necessary.
The kiosk shop in A&E is open to all every night and most days providing volunteers are available to staff it.
Our Covid Journey
Although we were prepared for the arrival of Covid-19 in Medway, we think it’s fair to say that like much of the rest of the country the speed and severity of its impact were worse than we expected. We had combed through our volunteer and staff records and identified those that would be at higher risk in early March 2020 and as soon as the hospital had its first confirmed cases we instructed them to stay at home, downsized our operation and completely restructured what we were doing and how we were doing it.
Unfortunately the first things to go were the ward trolley service and our small shop in Montgomery Court. The main shop had it’s opening hours reduced as there were both less paid staff and less volunteers able to work. We went cashless and introduced a new range of products in order to support our NHS colleagues so that the initial panic buying in supermarkets had less of an impact on them.
Gradually, we were able to allow more volunteers back to work once additional measures had been put in place for their (and our customers’) protection. Cash was reintroduced once a quarantine system had been established and in January 2021 the first of our personnel were able to receive their vaccines. Many have now had both doses.
As much as it is nice to see a slow return to normal business, we do expect that it will take longer for things inside a hospital to get back to normal. Social distancing and mask wearing are likely to remain for some time past their suspension in other areas of daily living.