Our Man in Westminster
It will not surprise anyone that the overwhelming subject dominating my email inbox has been the set of proposals from the east Kent health commissioners for the future of hospital services. The idea of closing the accident and emergency service at the William Harvey (and also at the hospital in Margate) to centralise them in a new hospital in Canterbury has gone down extremely badly.
I should say that I am included among those who think this would be a terrible idea.
We all know that the William Harvey is right next to a motorway, which in normal times means that ambulances have the ideal access. Moreover, a new junction is about to be built, which will only improve access.
Even more importantly everyone knows about the future expansion of Ashford.
Apart from the Finberry development, which is already being built out steadily, we can see alongside the A28 the first signs of the Chilmington Green development.
Let’s remember that this is effectively the creation of a new small town, about the size of Tenterden. This alone would make moving services away from Ashford extremely short-sighted, quite apart from the other parts of the area that would find it much more difficult to get to Canterbury.
At this stage these are merely options to be considered, so no one should start panicking.
But what we should all do is make our views known. I am sure that I speak for everyone in Ashford and the surrounding areas when I say that we do not want to see any downgrading of the services offered at the William Harvey and that the proposal to extend them in Option One of the consultation is a rational solution to the long-term provision of acute care in east Kent.