Health and social care partners in east Kent are looking at travel times, patient data, staffing and financial factors as they continue to put more detail into the picture of exactly what services would be available to local residents under two potential options for future hospital care.

The detailed analysis, which includes looking at how both hospital services and local services could be provided in future, is also looking at deprivation, inequality, population growth and other demographic changes.

Previous bulletins have explained that we know hospital services need to change, and commissioners have agreed to do more work examining two potential options that might then be presented to the public in a formal consultation.  The detail of these is below as a reminder. The intention is to enable everyone to benefit from advances in specialist care at the right specialist centre supported by much improved local care.

Public meetings and listening events have discussed the importance of getting the local care right and the analysis underway will also lead to a clear description of exactly what local services could be provided and where.

Once all this detail is available the options undergo further rigorous clinical and financial scrutiny and a set of evaluation criteria, that have been widely tested with staff, stakeholders and the public, will be applied.  These evaluation criteria were agreed following public engagement and the evaluation process will involve commissioners working together with clinicians and public representatives so that commissioners can decide on which options will then be presented to the public for formal public consultation.

What are the two options that we are examining?

In November commissioners agreed to do more work on the following two potential options.

Potential option one is an estimated £160million NHS investment, to enable:

  • a much bigger, modern, A&E at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, which would also provide services for people that need highly specialist care (such as trauma, vascular and specialist heart services) in east Kent
  • an expanded, modern A&E at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM), Margate, with inpatient care for people who are acutely unwell, emergency and day surgery, maternity and geriatric care
  • investment in beds and services at Kent and Canterbury Hospital which would have a 24/7 GP-led Urgent Treatment Centre, and services including diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day surgery, outpatient services and rehabilitation.

One of the two emergency hospitals would also be the centre for highly specialist services in east Kent (such as stroke, trauma, vascular and specialist heart services).

 Potential option two, an estimated £250million NHS investment to enable:

  • the fitting out of a new build and refurbishment of some of the current buildings connected to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, which would provide a single 24/7 A&E and all specialist services (such as trauma, vascular and specialist heart services) for the whole of east Kent
  • QEQM Hospital and William Harvey Hospital would have 24/7 GP-led Urgent Treatment Centres, as well as diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day surgery, outpatient services and rehabilitation.

Further detail, including information about options for planned inpatient orthopaedic care can be found here.