Our Man in West­min­ster

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View - By Damian Green

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.

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