The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital – MP urges massive public response to consultation.
Herne Bay MP, Sir Roger Gale, is urging the people of The Bay to respond “in huge numbers” when the future of the distribution of health services on the coast is put out to public consultation.
Speaking at the weekend following a meeting with the Chairman of the League of Friends the MP said:
“Health services can never be set in concrete but I do not believe that the proposals currently under consideration by EKHUFT, including significantly the potential transfer of some or all gastroenterology, respiratory care, rheumatology, orthopaedic work, podiatry and gynaecology, from the Queen Vic to the Estuary View or other medical centres, are remotely acceptable.
It is clear from the recent presentation that insufficient attention has been given to the age profile of the population of the coastal strip, of transport and parking considerations and of the existing health-service owned medical facilities.
Clearly, the provision of healthcare has to be kept under review and some movement in the location of provision may be not only desirable but clinically beneficial.
The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, however, is a very significant local asset that has a place in the heart of our community. Testimony to that fact is public attendance at the annual fete, which I have visited in virtually every year since my election, and the fantastic support for a League of Friends that has been responsible for the building of much of the facility over the years. Rather than seeking to transform a GP surgery into a cottage hospital the East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust should be seeking to develop and enhance a publicly-owned centre that already has excellent x-ray and operating theatre facilities and that currently offers a wide range of services, including podiatry from a purpose built unit, as well as excellent adjacent day-centre facilities.
The Queen Vic is accessible, well served by public and health service transport and has adequate free car parking for staff and patients of a kind not offered elsewhere. I am aware that patients are, on occasions, referred for x-rays – for example – to Canterbury, Thanet or even Ashford when those services are available on the doorstep in Herne Bay and readily within reach of Chestfield, Tankerton and Whitstable. We should be making better use of those facilities, not entertaining proposals that could undermine the hospital were they to be implemented.
Very shortly the public will have the opportunity to have its say and I hope that huge numbers will rally to the defence of the future of what is very much “our” local hospital”.