Summary of options for east Kent hospital services

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, the four east Kent clinical commissioning groups and other health and care organisations in east Kent are working together to deliver better healthcare to the people of East Kent, both in and out of hospital.

We want you to get the best, most effective, hospital care when you need it – and more care, treatment and support out of hospital when you don’t.

When you do need hospital treatment, we want to make sure it is safe, that you are seen quickly, that you care is high quality and that you only stay in hospital for as long as you need to.

This means using the three acute hospitals at Canterbury, Margate and Ashford, in different ways in future to improve standards and deliver your care and treatment in the best way possible.

We want East Kent Hospitals to be a centre of excellence – where specialist teams have the equipment and staff they need to provide excellent patient care and where you can get fast access to hospital treatment because people who no longer need hospital care are receiving appropriate treatment closer to home instead.     

Specialist care when you need it

By combining specialist services into one hospital in future, we can improve your care by giving you the highly specialist treatment you need, more quickly, from a single expert team available 24/7, whose expertise is built up by seeing lots of patients with the same condition, instead of stretching specialist services across multiple hospitals.

So if you are acutely unwell, or need highly specialist care, you will be treated at the hospital best placed to treat you, which may not be your local hospital. This already happens for many services for seriously ill patients, for example, if you have a serious accident (trauma) or particular types of heart attack or if you need specialist cancer treatment.

What this means for you

By providing services in different ways in future, this means:

       you will only come to hospital if that is the best place for you

       you will access highly specialist care when it’s needed – but not always in your closest hospital

       you will be treated sooner – with shorter waits for planned surgery

       you will spend less time in hospital as you are seen and treated by a specialist team

       you will get home sooner with the right support to continue your recovery

How do we plan to deliver this?

In November 2017 the NHS announced a “medium list” of two potential options, both of which involve significant investment to improve hospital services  – having reviewed a longer list against criteria developed with clinicians, patients and the public, and other stakeholders.  Since November 2017, clinicians and health leaders in east Kent have been developing both options.

 

Potential option 1

This option involves NHS investment to enable three vibrant hospitals, including:

  • a much larger, modern, A&E at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, which would also provide services for people that need highly specialist care (such as trauma, stroke, 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 to modernise services at Kent and Canterbury Hospital which would then provide diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day treatments and surgery, some routine planned inpatient surgery, outpatient appointments and rehabilitation.
  • 24/7 GP-led care, including an Urgent Treatment Centre treating illnesses and injuries which are not 999 emergencies, in Canterbury. 

All three hospitals would continue to be vibrant sites, where patients would continue to get most of their care locally, with a small proportion of patients travelling to a different hospital in future for the most specialist care.

 

Potential option 2

This option involves NHS investment to enable three vibrant hospitals, including:

  • the development of a new hospital at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and refurbishment of some of the current hospital buildings, to provide a single, modern, 24/7 A&E and all specialist services (such as trauma, stroke, vascular and specialist heart services), consultant-led maternity and frailty services and children’s inpatient services, for the whole of east Kent
  • services including diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day treatments and surgery, some routine planned inpatient surgery, outpatient appointments and rehabilitation at both the William Harvey and QEQM hospitals.
  • 24/7 GP-led care, including Urgent Treatment Centres treating illnesses and injuries which are not 999 emergencies, in Ashford and Margate.

All three hospitals would continue to be vibrant sites, where most patients would continue to get most of their care locally, with some patients travelling to a different hospital in future for the most specialist care.

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