A housing development firm in Canterbury has offered to construct and pay for a new hospital in exchange for permission to build 2,000 homes.
Currently, plans are underway to open an A&E hub in the city as changes to the current services mean some patients have to travel further to receive important emergency treatment.
Kent and Canterbury (K&C) Hospital was forced to limit some of its services as part of long-term reorganisation and sustainability plans, which has in turn increased stress on Margate and Ashford.
In a statement released last week, East Kent Hospital University NHS FT said the community had two options for reorganisation plans.
Either the three hospitals will see reorganisation, leaving two hospitals (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and William Harvey hospitals) with A&E services and the third with a GP-led urgent care centre, or there will be a new development at K&C which would open a single major emergency treatment centre for the whole region.
Simon Perks, accountable officer for NHS Ashford and Canterbury and Coastal CCGs, said growing demand for services alongside changing and more complex needs has meant that east Kent services are not meeting national standards.
“Over the last 18 months hospital consultants, GPs and nurses have developed proposals for a different approach to urgent and emergency care, acute medicine, specialist services and planned inpatient orthopaedic services in east Kent,” he explained.
“We have tested this with patients, carers, the public and communities and now have a list of potential options. If agreed this list will undergo further testing and evaluation by health professionals and patient representatives over the coming months, to reach a shortlist which, subject to agreement with NHS England, we will consult the public on next year to get their views and feedback on our proposals.
“We are sharing our progress so far with the public so people can be confident we are giving due and proper consideration to the different potential options. However, it is very important people understand that there may well be changes to what we are announcing today by the time of the public consultation.”
If the CCGs were to decide on the second option going forward, it would mean agreeing to the development of 2,000 new homes adjacent to K&C Hospital – reportedly for local firm Quinn Estates.
This would mean the hospital would become a central hub for most emergency services and the other two facilites would be reduced to GP-led emergency services.