Improving hospital services in east Kent: how decisions are made and what happens next

Over the next few months, the potential options for re-organising hospital services in east Kent will be evaluated by the NHS and patient and public representatives on whether they:

1. can deliver improvements in patient care

2. are accessible for patients

3. can be staffed

4. are affordable within the funds available

5. are deliverable within the timeframe needed

6. support research and education in the county.

These ‘evaluation criteria’ will be used to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each remaining option in fine detail, to reach a shortlist to consult the public on.

On 30 November, the medium list of options was agreed by local commissioners. This includes two potential options for urgent, emergency and acute medicine, and six potential options for planned orthopaedic services. You can read about the medium list here.

These options will now be analysed in fine detail by NHS staff, patient and public representatives using the six agreed evaluation criteria to reach a shortlist.

NHS commissioners and the NHS centrally (NHS England) will need to approve the shortlist before formal public consultation starts, including a business case for funding the changes, because all the options require significant capital funding.

No final decisions will be taken until after commissioners have had the opportunity to consider feedback from the formal public consultation alongside all other evidence later next year.

More information about the decision making process is available here.

You can also find out more in these frequently asked questions.