East Kent Hospitals is working with other local NHS and social care partners 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 our 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 2 was added to the medium list in October 2017 following an offer from a local developer to build the shell of a new hospital in Canterbury and gift it to the NHS. It would be part of a development of 2,000 new homes, which includes an access road from the A2.
It would be less than half the cost of building a new single site hospital on green belt land, which was ruled out because there isn’t enough national funding to pay for the estimated £700-800m cost and it would take too long to build.
What happens next?
These potential options were assessed further by NHS staff, patient and public representatives against evaluation criteria to reach a shortlist for public consultation.
The assessment to reach a shortlist looked at all options to see if they deliver improvements in patient care, are accessible for patients, can be staffed, are affordable within the funds available, deliverable within the timeframe needed and support research and education.
NHS leaders in east Kent confirmed in January 2020 that the two options had been shortlisted and are now included in a pre-consultation business case to be reviewed by NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the South East Clinical Senate.
A draft pre-consultation business case is being assessed by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s South East team and the South East Clinical Senate (an independent group of clinicians).
Their feedback will be incorporated into a final version. Because both options require significant capital funding from central NHS budgets, the final pre-consultation business case must be approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s national team before consultation can begin.
The timing of a public consultation depends on the business case review and approval process and will be published as soon as dates are confirmed.
No final decision will be taken until after commissioners have run and considered feedback from a formal public consultation, alongside all other evidence.
East Kent Hospitals’ Medical Director, Dr Paul Stevens: “There have been huge medical advances since I first started working in the NHS. We treat patients very differently now, with specialist teams looking after people with specific conditions such as stroke. This has led to much more effective treatment and people are living longer, with a better quality of life. But the NHS is still set up to work the way it did 30 years ago. We know we can care for patients better if we did things differently.”
Find out more
You can find out more here including answers to frequently asked questions, how conversations with the public have informed our thinking and dates of upcoming meetings.