Pa­tients on wait­ing list could be treated within weeks in France

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points of view - By Mar­i­jke Hall

Pa­tients need­ing surgery in east Kent are be­ing de­nied ac­cess to quick op­er­a­tions at a mod­ern French hos­pi­tal, say health chiefs across the Chan­nel.

Cen­tre Hospi­tal­ier de Calais has been geared up to take on hun­dreds of Bri­tish NHS pa­tients since Jan­uary last year, but in that time it has seen only two.

It cur­rently has an ar­range­ment with the South Kent Coast Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG) but ad­mits it has been dis­ap­pointed by the take-up.

De­spite the prox­im­ity and wait­ing lists, there is no such ar­range­ment with the Can­ter­bury and Coastal Com­mis­sion­ing Group.

Gen­eral man­ager of the Calais hos­pi­tal, Martin Trel­cat , says he has no wait­ing list and pa­tients can be seen within weeks for or­thopaedics, pain man­age­ment, ear, nose and throat, gy­nae­col­ogy, gen­eral surgery, cataract surgery and urol­ogy.

The hos­pi­tal has even in­stalled English sig­nage, de­signed part of its web­site to cater for Bri­tish pa­tients and trained doc­tors and nurses in English med­i­cal ter­mi­nol­ogy.

But frus­trated bosses say it has been a waste of time and en­ergy and in­stead they al­ways have five to six empty rooms avail­able.

Mr Trel­cat says they can see pa­tients from Kent as soon as next week if needed, but no one is tak­ing up the op­tion.

“We signed the agree­ment in Jan­uary 2016, and planned to wel­come around 100 pa­tients in two years and within four years, 400 pa­tients [from the South Kent CCG],” he said.

“In­stead, we saw one last year and one this year.

“We have done every­thing to wel­come NHS pa­tients with a high stan­dard of care.

“Pa­tients can be seen next week if they want to be. Ap­point­ments are based around pa­tient avail­abil­ity.

“We are ready to take them now.”

He says re­fer­rals are made to Calais and then can­celled at last minute when a Kent hos­pi­tal space comes up.

The CCG can con­tract ap­point­ments out to ei­ther Calais or East Kent Hos­pi­tals Uni­ver­sity NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, which is re­spon­si­ble for the QEQM in Mar­gate, Wil­liam Har­vey in Ash­ford and Kent & Can­ter­bury.

It is un­der­stood that the east Kent trust is not made aware if Calais is asked to carry out the ap­point­ment.

The trust would not com­ment on the Calais claims, but says the agree­ment be­tween them and the CCG does not mean any less money for lo­cal ser­vices.

Pic­ture: Cen­ter Hospi­tal­ier Calais

Cen­tre Hospi­tal­ier de Calais has been geared up to take on hun­dreds of Bri­tish NHS pa­tients since Jan­uary last year

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