Listening to you about your health services in east Kent

STP Leaflet - Improving hospital care in east Kent
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Local people have been having their say on plans to improve health services in east Kent at listening events in Canterbury, Ashford, Deal, Broadstairs and Romney Marsh in the last few weeks.

In east Kent the NHS and its partners is looking at how it could better organise hospital services, supported by local care closer to home. An emerging plan for how we could do this across our three main hospital sites in Canterbury, Margate and Ashford, has been developed by senior hospital doctors, local GPs and health and social care leaders.

The listening events are part of an ongoing conversation with local people about improving patient care, both in and out of hospital, and build on similar events in February.

Around 750 people attended the February/March and Summer events and raised important questions and shared valuable feedback, which will help shape the evolving proposals as part of the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

At the events people heard from local GPs about plans to bring more care closer to home - with  teams of health and social care professionals based around groups of GP surgeries - which will provide more joined-up services locally, helping people to stay well for longer and only come to hospital when it’s really needed. Watch here and view the presentation.

Dr David Hargroves, Consultant Stroke Lead for East Kent Hospitals, outlined how hospital services could be provided differently in future to improve care and outcomes for patients, which included providing specialist care from a single expert team, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (which doesn’t always happen now), instead of stretching services across all sites. Watch here.

The key themes from feedback so far has been that people recognise the need for change to improve care given the rising and changing demand and gaps in workforce; they want good access to services, both in and out of hospital, for patients and their relatives and are broadly supportive of the vision and plans to date.

But people want to know the detail about how they will be delivered, how more people will be cared for locally and how that would be paid for, given the financial constraints and current staff shortages. This is what is being worked on now.

No decisions about health services will be made until after a formal consultation period with the public that isn’t planned to start until early next year in 2018.  The NHS in east Kent and its partners are still developing the plans and proposals for this formal consultation. Any changes won’t happen overnight but will be phased in once decisions have been made, which will be later next year.

For more information about the vision for transforming Health and Social Care in Kent and Medway and how to get involved, and give feedback to help shape the options that will be consulted on, click here.

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"...people recognise the need for change..."