Transforming Health and Social Care in Kent and Medway

December 14, 2018

The Green Party believes that all health and dental services should always be publicly provided and funded, and free at the point of access.

Locally there are proposals to reorganise hospital services with two main options for urgent, emergency and acute medical care:

Potential option 1, an estimated £160 million NHS investment, to enable:

  • a much bigger, modern, A&E at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, which would also provide services for people that need highly specialist care (such as trauma, vascular and specialist heart services) in east Kent
  • an expanded, modern A&E at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM), Margate, with inpatient care for people who are acutely unwell, emergency and day surgery, maternity and geriatric care
  • investment in beds and services at Kent and Canterbury Hospital which would have a 24/7 GP-led Urgent Treatment Centre, and services including diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day surgery, outpatient services and rehabilitation.

Potential option 2, an estimated £250 million NHS investment to enable:

  • the fitting out of a new build and refurbishment of some of the current buildings connected to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, which would provide a single 24/7 A&E and all specialist services (such as trauma, vascular and specialist heart services) for the whole of east Kent
  • QEQM Hospital and William Harvey Hospital would have 24/7 GP-led Urgent Treatment Centres, as well as diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day surgery, outpatient services and rehabilitation.

Potential option 2 has been included because a private developer has offered to donate to the NHS land and the shell of a new hospital, as part of a development of 2,000 new homes, which includes an access road from the A2. It would be subject to planning permission.

This would be less than half the cost of building a new single site hospital on green belt land, which was ruled out because there isn’t enough national funding to pay for it and it would take too long to build

Shepway Green Party fully understands the pressures on the NHS and also that sometimes it makes sense from a medical point of view to concentrate specialist services on one site even where that causes inconvenience for patients.

Having carefully considered both these options we feel that we cannot support option 2. Canterbury would be too far for people from Romney Marsh and Thanet to have to travel for A&E services. We feel that it is too risky to just have one A&E department for the whole of the East Kent area. With the huge amount of development in and around Canterbury we would be concerned that traffic in the city would make access to the hospital very difficult. And finally we believe that to rely on a private developer to provide the shell of the new hospital is just too precarious. What guarantee would there be that the hospital could be delivered on time or indeed at all?

We attended the local “Listening Event” that set out the options; full consultation is awaited.