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Transformation journey header - delivering our future

Delivering our future

Planning health services for the future in east Kent

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, health commissioners agreed that two potential options for urgent, emergency and acute medical care, and six potential options for planned inpatient orthopaedic care, should be assessed further, to see which should go forward to public consultation later this year.

Potential option 1

This option involves an estimated £170 million NHS investment to enable three vibrant hospitals, including:

  • 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, 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 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.

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.

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Potential option 1

Potential option 2

This potential option involves an estimated £250 million 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 24/7 A&E and all specialist services (such as trauma, vascular and specialist heart services) for the whole of east Kent
  • 24/7 GP-led Urgent Treatment Centres at both the William Harvey and QEQM hospitals, and services including diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day surgery, outpatient services and rehabilitation.

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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Potential option 2 graphic

 Potential option 2 has been included because a private developer has offered to donate to the NHS land and the shell of a new hospital, as part of a development of 2,000 new homes, which includes an access road from the A2. It would be subject to planning permission.

This 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 £700m cost and it would take too long to build.


Health commissioners agreed to look further at six potential options for planned inpatient orthopaedic care.

1.     only the Kent and Canterbury Hospital

2.     only QEQM Hospital

3.     only William Harvey Hospital

4.     both the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and William Harvey Hospital

5.     both the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and QEQM Hospital

6.     both William Harvey Hospital and QEQM Hospital

What happens next?

These potential options will be 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 will look 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 commissioners and the NHS centrally (NHS England) will need to approve the shortlist before public consultation, including a business case for funding the changes, as all options require significant capital funding.

Paul Stevens quote

No final decisions will be taken until after commissioners have had the opportunity to consider feedback from the 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 read more about why the NHS and social care in Kent and Medway needs to change here.

You can find out more in these frequently asked questions and on the Kent and Medway NHS website which explains how the health and care organisations in Kent and Medway are working together on a strategy to transform health and social care.

Read more about how our thinking has been informed by conversations with the public, staff and clinicians


Our transformation journey

Our Transformation Journey builds on the improvement journey that saw the Trust being taken out of quality special measures, as a result of significant improvements to patient care and the organisation’s culture.

The dedication, commitment and compassion of staff from every part of the Trust, working together, brought about this positive change. We are building on this way of working to continue to transform our Trust and to deliver our vision of great healthcare, from great people.

The transformation programme is described as six key areas of work, progress is overseen by The Transformation Board which connects the programme from ward to Board.

Click the images below to veiw more about each workstream
Our Transformation Journey - Getting to Good 120x115
Our transformation journey workstream circle - Higher standards 120x115
Our Transformation Journey workstream circle - Healthy Finances 120x115
Our Transformation Journey workstream circle - A great place to work 120x115
Our Transformation Journey workstream circle - Delivering our furture 120x115
Our Transformation Journey workstream circle - Right skills 120x115

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