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East Kent progress and next steps

This page gives a summary of progress to date and key next steps in our programme to develop proposals for improving hospital and wider health services across east Kent.

Engaging with patients, the public and other stakeholders has been an important part of developing our plans from the original case for change through to our current proposals. Summary of engagement work since 2015.

Developing a case for change

The NHS in east Kent published a Case for Change in 2016. Our plans cover all aspects of NHS services including GPs, community nursing and therapy, hospital care and mental health. We are also working closely with the ambulance service, social care, care homes and local voluntary and community organisations.

We have been working hard since publishing the case for change to bring improvements to local services. You can read about some of the improvements already happening in Better health and care for east Kent: You said we did (Oct 2018).


Reviewing potential options for emergency and specialist hospital services

Developing proposals to improve emergency care and specialist inpatient services across east Kent was identified as a key priority within the case for changes and work began to look at all the potential options for how these services could be organised across the three existing hospitals and options including building new hospitals. 


Confirming a medium list of options

Following the review of all potential options we confirmed the medium list in November 2017. Information on the long list of options considered and the assessment process which confirmed the medium list was published as part of the papers for the joint committee meeting in public on 30 November 2017. The papers are available here.

(Nov 2017)

Developing medium list options for evaluation

There has been detailed work led by clinicians to develop the detail of each of the medium list options. Updates on the programme during this time were published as part of joint committee meetings in public.

During October – December 2018 we ran a series of public engagement events and wider activity to discuss the options. The feedback from this engagement was presented to the joint committee in February 2019 and has informed further stages of the options development.


Full evaluation of medium list to confirm a shortlist

Members of the East Kent Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups reviewed the latest information on both medium list options 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 was published as part of the joint committee meeting in August 2019.

The outcome of the evaluation was that both of the options were shortlisted. An announcement on this was published in January 2020 here.

(Jan 2020)

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.

In progress

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.

In progress

NHS England and NHS Improvement review and approval

A draft of the pre-consultation business plan will be reviewed by NHS England and NHS Improvement. 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 (JCCCG)). Final approval to provide the capital investment required for the building/refurbishment needed will come at a later stage.

In progress

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.

To follow

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.

To follow

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.

To follow


Implementing either of the current medium list of options would take several years (potentially 5 to 7 years from the start of consultation). More information on the anticipated timings will be included in the pre-consultation business case and further developed for the final option in the full business case.

To follow