The NHS in east Kent has been developing plans to improve the way services are delivered at the three major hospitals in the area, Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, and the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
Local doctors and other clinical leaders are working together to create proposals to change the way that services are organised, which will deliver significant improvements in health and care and allow the system to respond to changes in the way in which we treat people with serious illness.
Hospitals in east Kent have been struggling for many years to provide services in the current configurations and are also trying to provide services from hospital buildings that are not fit for delivering modern healthcare and have reached the end of their useful life. The plans have been discussed with a wide range of stakeholders and, whilst there are differing views, there is agreement that no change is not an option.
In January 2020, the NHS in east Kent confirmed that two options for improving hospital services across east Kent would be included in a pre-consultation business case to be approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement. Both options require approximately £400 million of new investment to improve the quality of patient care and ensure all our major hospitals and services are fit for the future and attractive for staff to work in. Both options have evaluated strongly in our work to date, both are viable, and both have pros and cons – there is no preferred option.
We are now in the assurance stage of the process with NHS England and NHS Improvement. Along with assuring the pre-consultation business case, we also need to secure Treasury funding for the proposals before we can proceed to public consultation on our plans. Following consultation, the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group will consider the responses, alongside all the other available evidence, to make a decision about which option should move forward to implementation.
Engaging with stakeholders
We continue to engage with our stakeholders, staff, patients and the public as we continue this work. We are grateful for their feedback and insights which have been pivotal in helping shape and refine our plans.
We recently published an update on the progress of these plans on the KMCCG website: East Kent Transformation Programme progress and timeline – stakeholder update – February 2021 :: Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk).
We have regular meetings with MPs, local councillors, our patient representative groups and our colleagues at Healthwatch.
The Kent and Medway Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee has received three updates since February 2020:
We are committed to keeping people up to date via our website East Kent Transformation Programme progress and timeline – stakeholder update – February 2021 :: Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk) and encourage people to check back for regular updates.
Once we are in a position to move forward to formal public consultation, we will be looking to engage with as many as people as possible and have extensive engagement plans to ensure that as many people as possible can be part of that conversation.