KentOnline: MPs call on Matt Hancock to hand £400 million boost to East Kent Hospitals Trust

KentOnline: MPs call on Matt Hancock to hand £400 million boost to East Kent Hospitals Trust

Article by Joe Wright for KentOnline - published 9 December 2020

MPs are urgently calling on the government to provide a £400 million boost to improve the scandal-hit East Kent Hospitals Trust.

In a letter penned to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, they stress the state of healthcare is "impossible" to turn around unless given a significant injection of money.

The group - made up of Conservatives Damian Green, Sir Roger Gale, Damian Collins, Craig Mackinlay and Natalie Elphicke and Labour's Rosie Duffield - say the much-discussed restructure of the trust's hospitals should be considered a "matter of urgency".

They say the pandemic has highlighted long-running issues and stress how the trust has been at the forefront of a succession of public scandals.

"We are writing to ask that the East Kent Hospitals Trust should have its transformation programme favourably considered as a matter of urgency," the letter reads.

"We have seen how the Covid outbreak has exposed pre-existing pressures on the services provided at the hospital sites across east Kent, but the pressures have been obvious for many years.

"The trust has not met A&E waiting time targets for six years, or planned care waiting targets for four years."

They say more than half of the wards are outdated, and that only 15% of communal areas meet the needs of frail and disabled people.

As it stands, two options are on the table as top clinicians are consider a huge reshuffle of services at the Kent & Canterbury (K&C), William Harvey in Ashford, and QEQM in Margate.

The first option being explored by the NHS would see all specialist services and major trauma unit be centralised in Ashford, with the K&C being heavily downgraded.

Option two would lead to the creation of a new “super hospital” in Canterbury which would house east Kent’s sole A&E centre.

Although the MPs do not all agree on the best way forward, they are all united by a desire to see a decision be made, the letter says.

"At the moment the trust is only meeting nine of the expected 36 national clinical standards," it continues.

"Despite the hard work and dedication of the management and staff it will be impossible to turn things around without a significant injection of money.

"Around £400 million is needed to give the people of east Kent the emergency healthcare they deserve.

"We have different views about which option should be adopted. But we are united in the view that this significant investment is needed now to transform the NHS in east Kent."

The under-fire trust has faced a string of troubles in recent months - including having the country’s highest Covid-19 death toll throughout June and July.

An inspection by the Care Quality Commission in August discovered some staff were not wearing masks correctly, did not always use hand sanitiser and were not adhering to social distancing.

It is also being criminally prosecuted for its handling of the death of baby Harry Richford amid a wider independent investigation into failures in its maternity services.

Copyright 2019 Damian Collins. All rights reserved

Promoted by Russell Tillson for and on behalf of Damian Collins, both of Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association both at 4 West Cliff Gardens, Folkestone, Kent CT20 1SP

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