Have a say on future of hospital at stadium event
Residents invited to discuss health and social care plan
The future of the William Harvey Hospital and other major plans for the East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) will be discussed at an event tomorrow (Friday).
Residents are invited to the Julie Rose Stadium from 1pm to 4pm to discuss the draft Kent and Medway Health and Social Care Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
The initial document, which sets out changes to health and social care, was revealed in November 2016.
A spokesman for NHS South East Commissioning Support Unit (SECSU), which is running the event, said: “It will be an opportunity to discuss first-hand the criteria that will be used to ensure the plans are robust and will work for each and every community.”
Health bosses announced plans for radical changes in the trust in a bid to fill a £35 million budget deficit and tackle pressures on A&E departments, minor injuries units and urgent care centres.
While Matthew Kershaw, Trust chief executive, has remained tight-lipped about the details of the proposals, he said closing one of the three main hospitals in Canterbury, Ashford and Thanet is “unlikely” and was only ever a “theoretical possibility.”
Gemma Shillito, spokesman for the trust, said after initial assessments, clinicians are in favour of keeping all three sites but using them in a different way.
She says the preferred model is still to bring all specialist services together at one site and retaining two hospital A&E departments, which would also provide planned care.
One of the three sites will focus on planned orthopaedic care, like hip and knee replacements, supported by rehabilitation services and a GP-led urgent care centre.
She said: “Now there is a need for more detailed plans to look at how the plans could work in practice..
“Committees of local doctors, NHS chief executives, and councils, with input from patient groups and voluntary and community groups, are getting this more detailed work under way.”
The trust has not revealed which hospital it favours to be the specialist centre, despite strong speculation it will be likely be the William Harvey.
Mrs Shillitto added: “This is a proposal for how services could be organised in the future and no decisions have yet been taken.
“We will continue to work up the models, and any other feasible options, over the coming months with input from staff and feedback from the public to arrive at options which will be put out for public consultation before any decisions are made.”
Residents can have their say on the William Harvey Hospital