Posted by Amanda Crawford at 15/02/2017 12:44:11
Scores of people turned out for a meeting to launch the start of a public consultation on health services in Edenbridge. Around 70 people came to the two-hour session in the packed Rickards Hall on Tuesday 7 February.
The crowd heard from representatives of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Edenbridge Medical Practice.
Ian Ayres, Accountable Officer for the CCG, outlined the proposal for health services in the town that is the preferred option of all three organisations. This is a combined hospital/surgery in a new building on a new site, with space for extra services including day care beds (where patients could have, for instance, intravenous drips on a daily basis not currently available in Edenbridge), but no inpatient beds.
Members of the public were invited to ask questions in an open forum following presentations. There was support in the room for the proposals for a combined hospital/surgery in a new building. Questions showed support for providing a range of new services for the town and a positive response to the preferred option – although there were also concerns about alternatives for people who need an inpatient bed in the future.
People wanted reassurance that any new building would be in keeping with the design of the area and that those with expertise, such as staff who would work there, would be involved in its design and layout. There was concern about any parking charges for visitors and suggestions for improving accessibility to other hospitals by promoting the existing voluntary transport scheme. There were also questions about timescales and budgets and that the sites proposed were in the green belt.
Dr Bob Bowes, Chair of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are really grateful for the great turnout at the meeting, and the quality of the discussion. We have done a lot of work to get to a position where we are clear about our preferred option and we were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with people why we are recommending it and to understand how it might impact them. “The questions that were asked gave us some useful insight into people’s views and concerns.
“I look forward to further discussion at the other public meetings that have been scheduled and would urge anybody who has an opinion or would like to find out more to come along. We will take note of everything said at public meetings but we would also like as many people as possible to let us have their feedback.
“The best way to do that is via our online questionnaire or by posting the one included within the consultation document. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write using the Freepost address which has no need for a stamp.”
The consultation will run until 26 April. This was the first of a series of public meetings where representatives from NHS organisations will present their proposals and offer the public an opportunity to ask questions.
Further meetings will be held at:
Eden Centre, Four Elms Road
Monday 13 March 4 to 5pm
WI Hall, Station Road
Saturday 25 March 11.30 am to1pm
Edenbridge Leisure Centre, Stangrove Park
Tuesday 25 April 6.30 to 8.30pm
No booking is necessary and tea and coffee will be served.
The meeting on Saturday 25 March will be hosted by MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling, Tom Tugendhat.
A full consultation document, and an online questionnaire to give your views on the consultation, are available on the CCG’s website at www.westkentccg.nhs.net/edenbridgefuture, or paper copies can be picked up from:
· Edenbridge Medical Practice
· The Eden Centre
· Edenbridge and District War Memorial Hospital
They will be also available at each of the public meetings or by emailing email@example.com or calling 03000 424348.
To send in your views by letter, or return the survey if you do not have a Freepost envelope, please use this address:
Freepost Plus RTEG-RHKB-EJGJ
NHS South East CSU
81 Station Road
Ashford TN23 1PP
This is the first stage in a long process. Once the outcome of the consultation is known, it will be necessary to seek planning permission and work with investment partners (such as NHS Property Services which currently owns the hospital building) to secure funding for the new building.
A decision on the outcome of the consultation is expected in the summer, with a view to starting the implementation of any changes in the autumn, although it could be some time before any visible progress is seen.
NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group plans and buys healthcare for the people of Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells and the southern part of Sevenoaks.