The CHEK public meeting will go ahead tomorrow but NHS leaders will be unable to attend and answer questions due to the election being called.
The NHS, like all public bodies, has a responsibility in the period leading up the election to ensure it does not influence the election in any way. Late today CHEK were informed that the local NHS received specific guidance on the activities it can and cannot undertake in this period, (purdah) including restrictions on what the NHS can and cannot talk about in public meetings. It discussed this guidance with CHEK, which reluctantly agreed that these restrictions on NHS activity mean that until the election is over, the NHS won’t be able to provide the local community with the full and open discussion the community wants and deserves. This includes attending this meeting this Friday night to answer your questions. We all want the NHS to answer questions fully, and we would all be dissatisfied with anything less.
Therefore, with regret, CHEK, Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group and East Kent Hospitals Trust have agreed the NHS should not speak or take your questions at tonight’s meeting. However, CHEK and these organisations share the desire for open discussion with the community over the future of the local NHS, so we have agreed two things:
- A date for a new meeting, after the election, where the NHS fully commits to being open to public scrutiny on both long-term proposals for the NHS and the immediate issues at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. The date of this meeting will be confirmed on Friday, 28 April
- Representatives of the NHS are attending on Friday night to listen and record your questions and views so the NHS can respond after the election and so, together, we can ensure the new public meeting we have committed to includes the issues you raise tonight.
CHEK and the NHS agree that the NHS is accountable to the people it serves and both organisations are completely committed to ensuring the local community has a voice in the future of east Kent’s NHS. We believe that this agreement will help both CHEK and the NHS serve you properly.