Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The closure of Maidstone A&E will 'put lives at risk'

A study by the Medical Care Research Unit at Sheffield University has confirmed the fears of local campaigners that the closure of Maidstone A&E will put the lives of seriously ill patients at risk by making them travel further.

Researchers found that the risk of death increased by 1% for every six miles travelled. Those with breathing problems were most at risk compared to those with other conditions. Their chances of dying were 13% if the distance to hospital was between six and 12 miles, and 20% if this was 12 miles or more. From Aylesford to Pembury is at least 18 miles and in traffic can easily take 40 minutes to get to by car.

This research clearly undermines the Government's claims that closures are based on clinical needs and the campaign against the closure of Maidstone A&E has always been focused around concerns about the distance to the new unit at Pembury. I hope that the Health Secretary will now consider this study in his deliberations on the future of Maidstone A&E, alongside the strength of local opposition against these proposals, and rule in favour of keeping this essential service open.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its good to see someone has done some real research into the issue of location and accessibility which would be unavoidable if these services were to be refocused.

It is possibly the worst idea our 'democratic' government has had in the last decade. There has been a massive lack of public consulatation on this matter, which has angered people even more than the ridiculous idea to move our services out of public reach.