Packed audience at TOFFs health meeting

The meeting attracted more than 80 people

More than 80 people turned out for the latest meeting of the Thanet Over Fifties Forum (TOFFs) on Tuesday (13 February).

The session, held at The Gap, Broadstairs Baptist Church, was for a meeting focusing on health care in Thanet and the proposed changes to the service.

Dr Tony Martin, Chair of Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) talked about the two potential options for urgent emergency and acute medicine provisions for East Kent; the struggle to attract and retain doctors and the CCG’s desire to provide the right services to people across Thanet.

Caroline Selkirk, accountable officer for the CCG, spoke about the importance of public consultations as they want people to know proposals are being discussed and what local residents think of them.

Steve Inett, CEO Healthwatch Kent spoke about their aim to improve services by ensuring local people’s voices are heard.  Mr Inett asked the forum: “How do people want us to communicate to them on the changes happening in our NHS services?” And also: “If you have a medical condition (not an emergency) that is worrying you, during the day, and you feel that you need some advice that same day, where is the first place you would go to get support or guidance?”.

Jenny Cole, Concern for Health in East Kent (CHEK), spoke about the importance of having a medical school at Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent to train doctors locally and to help retain clinical staff.  She spoke about CHEK’s fight to bring back the services we have lost locally and their mission for a much-needed new hospital to be built in the middle of East Kent.  Ms Cole also drew attention to the frustrations of travel to WHH hospital for patients and their families.

A question and answer period followed each of the speakers’ presentations. Some of the concerns from the audience were:

  • Travel times to the William Harvey Hospital (WHH) Ashford
  • Travel times to Kent & Canterbury Hospital (Sturry Level Crossing)
  • Not every doctors practice has a Patients Participation Group (PPG)
  • The shortage of Medical Staff
  • Why the QEQM was not part of the Stroke Consultation, and why is the consultation questionnaire only available online?

Mr Inett told  the audience that there will be a Stroke consultation event) at the Margate Football Ground on 26 February at 6.30pm and at the meeting there will be consultation questionnaire in paper format.

For those who cannot attend the consultation on 26 February, TOFFs members can submit their questions by email to [email protected]

The meeting was also attended by representatives Thanet Community Wardens, Ageless Thanet, Age UK Thanet, Caremark, Trinity Resource Centre who were all on hand to talk to people and share information about their services.

For members who were unable to attend the meeting  details will be in the next TOFFs newsletter that will go out early April  and a sound recording will be available via and

The next TOFFs meeting is on Wednesday 25 April at 1pm to 3pm, Minster Village Hall and speakers will be PCSO Adrian Butterworth talking on community safety and local concerns and  Andrew Bigginton from the Margate Task Force.

If you would like to find out more about TOFFs, and become a member (which is free and entitles you to six informative newsletters a year, on everything from scam awareness to local events) please email [email protected] or call 01843 609337.


  1. Make sure we can ask questions to all speakers at consultation meeting, we should not be put into small groups to be silenced

  2. Also join the protest march on Saturday 24/2/18 at noon starting from Margate hospital to stop the closure of the stroke unit at QEQM which would mean a life threatening journey of over 70 minutes to Ashford (mid kent)

  3. Consultation on this proposal need much more consideration. It needs to be robust and meaningful. This looks rushed. I’m extremely concerned that QE has been taken out of the equation and given Thanet’s poor health outcomes and lower life expectancy should mean more effort is made. Not less.

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