CHEK came back into action last year to fight against the withdrawal of much-needed services from the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. We believe this withdrawal was the result of many years of neglect and poor administration by the Hospital Trust, and should never have happened. Over the past year we have gone further and become involved in the big debate about the future of all three hospitals in East Kent. These are the aims of CHEK below, and we believe they are the right solution for healthcare in East Kent.
Our aim is one single main acute hub hospital for East Kent. We believe that bringing all the main acute services, diagnostics, and treatment together in one hospital will greatly improve the quality of those services, and thus make sure that people in East Kent get the best possible treatment. There is a shortage of skilled clinical staff in the country, and having one major hospital rather than three will improve our chances of attracting the best. At the same time , with more cases being dealt with by the acute teams their expertise will grow. There is an important use for the other two hospitals in east Kent acting as spokes to the main hub. The services at these hubs should be designed by the trust and CCGs to fit we the local needs.
Our aim is for that hub hospital to be located in Canterbury. It is geographically the centre of East Kent, and travel times to it are significantly less than from Thanet to Ashford, for example. There is an offer from a local developer to construct a new hospital building, with no strings attached, in the context of a planning application he is making. A new ,state-of-the –art hospital in Canterbury would fit perfectly with the plans being developed by Kent University and Canterbury Christ Church University to establish a medical school here.
Our aim is for East Kent to continue to have three hospitals as described above. Wherever they live, after specialised surgical or medical treatment, people need to be able to recover in hospitals close to their own families, and they need to have the assurance that emergency care is on hand.
By vigorous lobbying, detailed research, legal actions and public engagement:
- To bring to a halt any current or future closure or withdrawal of services from K&C
- To ensure services withdrawn from the K&C within recent months are restored, including Acute Emergency, Cardiac, Respiratory and Stroke services
- To ensure K&C as an east Kent Centre of Excellence in Stroke, Cardiac and Respiratory alongside Renal, Vascular, Urology and Cancer specialised services
- To support acceptance of local initiatives for a new hospital adjacent to the current K&C
- To work with the two major universities in Canterbury to develop an enhanced medical training school, to enable all health professionals including GPs to have their training in Canterbury.