Saturday, 12 May 2007

KCC refers Maidstone A&E proposal to Secretary of State

Below is the press release issued by Kent County Council yesterday.

Kent County Council NHS Overview and Scrutiny Committee today (Friday 11 May) threw out plans to remove emergency general surgery and emergency orthopaedic surgery from the A & E department at Maidstone Hospital. The committee voted by eight to five to reject Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust's plans to concentrate those services at Kent & Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells. It would mean 49 emergency patients a week travelling to Tunbridge Wells, 21 to Ashford, seven to Medway and seven to Dartford or Bromley.

After a lengthy and at times heated debate, KCC's NHS Scrutiny and Overview committee voted to refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health Patricia Hewitt for her consideration. During the meeting today Members of the KCC committee heard from patients, the ambulance trust, West Kent Primary Care Trust, doctors in favour of the change, doctors who have reservations about the change and Maidstone Borough Council as well as the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

I am delighted that the Scrutiny Committee took this decision. The proposals put forward by the Trust are pretty much opposed by everyone I talk to, not least because of the poor transport links to Tunbridge Wells, which many feel will put people's lives at danger. An excellent summary of the problems of the proposal can be found HERE.

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