East Kent next steps

(Page published 26 November 2018)

Below are the key next steps in developing our plans for changes to how urgent, emergency and acute medical care is organised across hospitals in east Kent. Timings given are estimates based on current assumptions and could be subject to change.

Full evaluation of medium list to confirm a shortlist
Members of the East Kent Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups will review the latest information on both medium list options, including a summary of the information gained from the autumn 2018 listening events, and evaluate them against five core criteria covering clinical sustainability, accessibility, finances, deliverability and strategic fit. More detail on the criteria and scoring method for the evaluation will be available in December. The potential outcome of the evaluation is that either both or just one of the current options are shortlisted. The evaluation sessions are expected to take place at the end of January 2019.

More information on the options assessment process which confirmed the medium list is available here.

Preparing a pre-consultation business case

The pre-consultation business case is a detailed document covering all shortlisted options. It provides the information which our regulators need to review and approve our plans.  Importantly, it is the document that the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups in east Kent will use to decide to formally consult on proposals for change. There will be a range of supporting documents including an evidence review, impact assessment and consultation plan. The pre-consultation business case and all the supporting documents will be published as part of launching a formal public consultation.

South East Coast Clinical Senate review

The Clinical Senate is made up of doctors and other clinicians from across the South East region. They will review our proposals for the shortlisted options and provide professional clinical feedback. Their role is to review the proposals and provide recommendations but not to formally approve them. The Senate’s review will be published ahead of public consultation as part of the supporting documents in the final pre-consultation business case. The Clinical Senate review is expected to take place in February 2019 and report back in March 2019.

NHS England and NHS Improvement review and approval

A draft of the pre-consultation business plan will be reviewed by both NHS England (as the regulator of clinical commissioning groups) and NHS Improvement (as the regulator of the hospital trust). They will look in detail at both the clinical model we propose and the financial plans.

At this stage they will be giving approval for us to move forward with a public consultation (subject to a final decision being taken by the East Kent Joint Committee of the Clinical Commissioning Groups s (JCCCG)). Final approval to provide the capital investment required for the building/refurbishment needed will come at a later stage.

We expect to submit the draft pre-consultation business case to NHS England and NHS Improvement in March 2019. This stage of review can take up to four months.

Local review and approval to consult

Following approval from our national regulators, and any amendments required by them, a final pre-consultation business case and consultation plan will be developed.

The Kent Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee will review these. The Kent HOSC will need to support the consultation plan.  The JCCCG will review and consider the pre-consultation business case in detail and give it final approval before agreeing to launch a public consultation.

Public consultation

The typical length of a public consultation is 12 weeks. If the timings for consultation run over holiday periods we would add additional time to the consultation period to compensate for this and for some people being away or unable to engage in the consultation. During consultation there will be a wide range of publicity and engagement activities to gather views from all stakeholders. Details will be published in a consultation plan as part of the pre-consultation business case.

The objective of public consultation is to gather views from all stakeholders on all options in the shortlist. It will not be specifically asking people to choose between the options and is not a vote or referendum.

Confirm a preferred option

Following consultation there would be a meeting of the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups to carefully and thoroughly consider all the feedback gathered during the consultation and all additional evidence and information gathered alongside consultation. They would then confirm a single preferred option to progress to the final stage.

Full business case development and approval

A full business case would be developed looking exclusively at the preferred option. This would include detailed implementation plans and financial information. This would be submitted to NHS England with a request for the capital investment needed. Once approval to provide the investment is given by NHS England the East Kent Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups would take a final decision to progress with implementing the preferred option.

Implementation

Implementing either of the current medium list of options would take several years, dependent on which option emerges as the preferred choice (e.g. potentially 5 to 7 years from the start of consultation). More detail on the anticipated timings would be included in the pre-consultation business case and further developed for the final option in the full business case.

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