KCC to re­tain HealthWatch

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

less money. It will still be a full­blooded ser­vice.

“The first year has been a learn­ing curve and we did not know what we could do. It will be very much more pro-ac­tive than it has been and will carry on as a round-the-clock op­er­a­tion.”

He said al­ter­na­tive pa­tient helplines run by hospi­tal and pri­mary care trusts were not as ef­fec­tive.

“You try ring­ing the west Kent helpline at 3am on Christ­mas morn­ing.”

The NHS still per­ceived the scheme as a threat, he added.

“I think it is fair to say that they fear it but they have no rea­son to do so, un­less they are de­liv­er­ing a poor ser­vice and if they are, then peo­ple will speak out about it.”

The ini­tia­tive was launched on the back of the pub­li­ca­tion of damn­ing re­ports into two out­breaks of Clostrid­ium dif­fi­cile at Maid­stone and Tun­bridge Wells NHS Trust.

To date, some 500 peo­ple have used the 24-hour ser­vice.

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