Health bosses to ‘further assess’ planned changes to A&E and orthopaedic care in east Kent

QEQM hospital

Health commissioners agreed today (November 30) that two potential options for accident and emergency care and six potential options for planned inpatient orthopaedic care in east Kent, should be assessed further, to see which should go forward to public consultation next year.

Currently the three main hospitals – at Ashford, Canterbury and Margate – each provide different services, with A&E departments at Margate and Ashford and an Urgent Care Centre at Canterbury. A range of specialist services are located at different hospitals. For example, the trauma unit is located at William Harvey Hospital, and inpatient kidney services are at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

Option 1, an estimated £160million NHS investment:

  • a much bigger, modern, A&E at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, which would also provide services for people that need highly specialist care (such as trauma, vascular and specialist heart services) in east Kent
  • an expanded, modern A&E at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM), Margate, with inpatient care for people who are acutely unwell, emergency and day surgery, maternity and geriatric care
  • investment in beds and services at Kent and Canterbury Hospital which would have a 24/7 GP-led Urgent Treatment Centre, and services including diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day surgery, outpatient services and rehabilitation.

Option 2, an estimated £250million NHS investment:

  • the fitting out of a new build and refurbishment of some of the current buildings connected to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, which would provide a single 24/7 A&E and all specialist services (such as trauma, vascular and specialist heart services) for the whole of east Kent
  • QEQM Hospital and William Harvey Hospital would have 24/7 GP-led Urgent Treatment Centres, as well as diagnostics (such as X-ray and CT scans), day surgery, outpatient services and rehabilitation.

Developer Quinn Estates has offered to donate to the NHS land and the shell of a new hospital, as part of a development of 2,000 new homes, which includes an access road from the A2. It would be subject to planning permission.

Commissioners say this would be less than half the cost of building a new single site hospital on green belt land, which would cost some £700million and take 10 years to construct.

Six potential options for planned inpatient orthopaedic care.

  1. only the Kent and Canterbury Hospital
  2. only QEQM Hospital
  3. only William Harvey Hospital
  4. both the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and William Harvey Hospital
  5. both the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and QEQM Hospital
  6. both William Harvey Hospital and QEQM Hospital

The decision was taken today at the first meeting of the Joint Committee of East Kent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG)s, representing NHS Ashford CCG, NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG, NHS South Kent Coast CCG and NHS Thanet CCG.


The potential options for urgent, emergency and acute medical care and planned inpatient orthopaedic care will now be assessed further by NHS staff, patient and public representatives against evaluation criteria to reach a shortlist for public consultation.

NHS commissioners and the NHS centrally (NHS England) will need to approve the shortlist before it goes out to public consultation, including a business case for funding the changes, because all the options require significant capital funding.

No final decisions will be taken until after commissioners have had the opportunity to consider feedback from the formal public consultation alongside all other evidence later next year.

‘Excellent healthcare’

Dr Tony Martin, Clinical Chair of NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We want the NHS to provide excellent healthcare for everyone in east Kent. To achieve that, it has to change.

“The meeting today is part of a very rigorous process we are going through to agree how hospital services should be organised in the future, to meet the needs of local people.

“Demand for health services is constantly growing and changing too. This means that our health and care system in east Kent is under real strain and is not meeting national quality standards. There are limited specialist staff and there is limited money to spend, so we need to use what we have wisely and effectively.

“The next stage is detailed testing and analysis by health professionals and patient representatives of all the potential options, to reach a shortlist that we can consult the public on next year.

“There may well be changes to the options discussed today by the time of the public consultation.”

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Read here: Thanet mum of son with special needs launches petition to save Margate’s A&E


  1. The accident, on the A28 Island Road between Grove Ferry Hill at Upstreet and the A253 at Sarre. and another accident on the A28 at Sarre created chaos yesterday with one road being closed for 10 hours, so the idea for one main A&E Department in Canterbury is a non starter.
    Until Kent County Council and the Government address the road infrastructure here in East Kent it is better to leave the A&E departments at both the QEQM Margate and the William Harvey Ashford, otherwise those who say Canterbury is the best option will have many deaths in their hands.

  2. You cannot be in your right mind if you decide on one A & E hospital for the whole of East Kent. It just wouldn’t work with the roads we have being antiquated and a not looked after. Road works, accidents, road closures all add to the times to get there on top of waiting longer for ambulances to arrive now. People will die waiting to be seen. Queues as long as we have already but 3 times longer due to two A & E closures will be horrendous too.
    No, we will fight tooth and nail to keep these essential services just where they are. Where people can access them within a ‘reasonable’ time. Stuff the builders offer of a new hospital next door to Canterbury’s for being allowed to build hundreds of houses on the old site, it should not all be up for bribes and money talking that decides this, we the people want our say too.

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