Pa­tients could be given choice of French hos­pi­tal

French hos­pi­tals on course to se­cure con­tracts for treat­ment

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - What’s On -

Kent pa­tients need­ing med­i­cal treat­ment could be sent to Calais un­der new plans to treat them in France.

Two French hos­pi­tals are on the verge of se­cur­ing con­tracts from South Kent Coast Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group.

If suc­cess­ful, Cen­tre Hos­pi­tal­ier de Calais and Fon­da­tion Hos­pi­tale will be able to pro­vide treat­ments in­clud­ing gen­eral surgery, gy­nae­col­ogy, cataract surgery, pain man­age­ment and or­thopaedics to pa­tients trav­el­ling from Kent.

Pa­tients could be re­ferred to ei­ther hos­pi­tal fol­low­ing dis­cus­sion with their GP, po­ten­tially short­en­ing wait­ing times for some pro­ce­dures.

But although the treat­ments will be paid for by the NHS, pa­tients will have to cover their travel costs if they opt for France.

Ac­count­able of­fi­cer for NHS South Kent Coast Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group, Hazel Car­pen­ter, said: “We re­cently in­vited or­gan­i­sa­tions that pro­vide treat­ments... two French providers ap­plied as well as a num­ber of English ones.

“We car­ried out a care­ful as­sess­ment of the ser­vices they of­fer and are vis­it­ing the sites.

“The two French providers, among oth­ers, ful­filled our cri­te­ria and we ex­pect to fi­nalise a con­tract with them.

“It will then be pos­si­ble for pa­tients who need this treat­ment to choose to have it in France if they wish, af­ter dis­cus­sion with their GPs. The NHS will pay for their med­i­cal treat­ment but pa­tients will pay their own travel and other in­ci­den­tal costs.

“It is purely a mat­ter of choice and we will be very in­ter­ested to see how many peo­ple take it up and what feed­back they give us.”

The CCG in­sists there is noth­ing wrong with lo­cal providers, and said the French hos­pi­tals sim­ply met the cri­te­ria.

In a state­ment, a spokesman said: “It is quite sim­ply a pro­cure­ment that fol­lows EU com­pe­ti­tion rules and has the ad­van­tage of giv­ing lo­cal peo­ple a choice.”

Pa­tients re­quir­ing surgery are among those who could be treated in France

Damian Collins, Folke­stone and Hythe MP, has re­acted pos­i­tively to the move, say­ing it would pro­vide “ex­tra ca­pac­ity”.

He said: “It is open for peo­ple if they want it and in the short term it would give ex­tra ca­pac­ity to hos­pi­tals in Kent.”

It is un­clear where this leaves lo­cal providers who missed out on the con­tracts.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

MP Damian Collins has said the Cen­tre Hos­pi­tal­ier de Calais and Fon­da­tion Hos­pi­tale could pro­vide ex­tra ca­pac­ity to the hos­pi­tals in Kent

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