Public meeting to take place over plans for urgent treatment centres across east Kent

QEQM hospital

NHS bosses are holding a public meeting this month to discuss plans to introduce urgent treatment centres in east Kent by December 2019, as part of a national drive to simplify urgent care.

Urgent treatment centres bring together a range of services for illnesses and injuries that need urgent care but are not a 999 emergency.

The NHS is speaking to patients about early proposals to introduce the centres. The plans were first revealed last year as part of a proposed shake up of hospital services in east Kent. This includes moving many services such as accident & emergency, specialist care, and planned inpatient orthopaedic care (such as hip and knee operations).

There is also discussion over whether to move maternity and children’s inpatient services to a new hospital in Canterbury and options for moving specialist services to either Canterbury or Ashford.

Two options for A&E were published last year. These were:

Option 1 – A&E at Ashford and Margate

Reorganising some specialist services across each of the three hospital sites and using the William Harvey Hospital (Ashford), Kent & Canterbury Hospital (Canterbury) and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (Margate) in different ways. This would mean consolidating specialist services on one site at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, with more day-to-day hospital services provided at Canterbury and Margate.

Under option 1 there would be an A&E at William Harvey Hospital as part of the major emergency centre and an A&E Department at QEQM.

This would be supported by 24/7 GP-led care, including an Urgent Treatment Centre treating illnesses and injuries which are not 999 emergencies, in Canterbury.

Option 2 – A&E at a new Canterbury hospital

Added to the medium options list in October 2017 following an offer by Quinn Estates to build the shell of a new hospital in Canterbury as part of a development of 2,000 new homes. It would involve changes at all three sites, including moving some services currently provided at the William Harvey and QEQM hospitals.

Under option 2 there would be an A&E department for east Kent  at the major emergency centre at Canterbury. This would mean that A&E, acute medical care and complex inpatient surgery, which currently take place at William Harvey and QEQM, would relocate to Canterbury.

This would be supported by 24/7 GP led care, including Urgent Treatment Centres treating illnesses and injuries which are not 999 emergencies, in Ashford and Margate.

Caroline Selkirk, Managing Director of east Kent Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “We have already carried out public surveys and spoken to patient groups, local organisations, GPs and NHS staff about our plans to introduce urgent treatment centres in east Kent.

“But before we finalise our plans we want to give the public another opportunity to talk about them. We want to know what they think about the benefits of such a service or to raise any concerns they have about the proposals.”

A public meeting to hear about and comment on the urgent care centre plans will take place on Tuesday, February 26 at The Pavillion Suite, Canterbury Cricket Ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury, from 10am until 4pm.

A spokesman for the Save Our NHS in Kent (SONiK) campaign said: “SONiK is concerned that Urgent Treatment Centres will not address the direct needs of Thanet residents. UTC’s are being proposed as providers of GP appointments, but will not necessarily be staffed by GP’s, only GP led.

“This reduces continuity of care by moving GP services away from surgeries and also promotes the model of centralisation for emergency care, which is currently unproven. An UTC will never be a replacement for a full A and E.”

County councillor Karen Constantine has written to Ms Selkirk urging her to hold a further consultation in Thanet. She said: “Many of our population find it hard to travel and it is also costly for many. I think given the current situation with regard to our NHS services in Thanet, the Stone unit decision in particular, a consultation should be held here in Thanet, in an accessible venue which is on the Loop bus service.”

The public can register by emailing: [email protected] or calling 03000 424348.

If people are unable to attend but wish to comment they can email [email protected]

Read here: Decision date announced for hyper-acute stroke units which will mean removal of service from Margate’s QEQM


  1. Endless episodes of wasting money and trying to kid the public “it’s to improve patient care” . Over the years we have had Ramsgate Hospital closed – Haine hospital closed – Royal Seabathing hospital closed -St Augustine’s hospital closed- The Mount hospital closed- Princes Marys hospital closed-Nunnery Fields hospital closed – Westbrook Hospital closed. Billions of pounds have been wasted by miss-management of governments and NHS senior management and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Privatisation and constant under funding have helped ruin the service. The government tells the NHS to make cost savings year after year for example of 100 million pounds per year. Then five years later with a general election looming the government say they are going to put more money in the NHS, Having starved it of money for the past 5 years since in reality the government are giving it nothing in real terms. Public consultation meetings are all smoke and mirrors to con jo public into believing “its to improve patient care”. What rot they talk. Closing all the above hospital’s over the years has improved nothing.

  2. I am reassured, in a way, by Ann’s comments. I was also very suspicious about these ideas from NHS management. I thought it was a cover for more cutbacks. But then I wondered if I was just too critical and cynical and that I should give the Tory government the benefit of the doubt this time. But, as Ann makes clear, this is just another exercise in pulling the wool over our eyes. Announcing exciting new ideas that turn out to be a cover for taking away what we had before. Pretty soon they will announce new ideas for providing “a small local, state-of-the-art medical provision centre” right in the heart of Thanet. But, in the small print will be the closure of QEQM !

  3. Why is this meeting to be held at Dover? How many people from Thanet can get there? Should be more than one meeting due to the seriousness of the matter and the area it covers

    • It’s at the cricket ground in Canterbury on the Old Dover Road but the point is well made as it almpst I possible,to,get there from Thanet easily. Two buses or train, walk then bus.

      There should be a meeting In each area affected not just one at the other side of Canterbury close to Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

  4. Now they would like to close what we have left, our one and only service in Thanet. So what do those people on large salaries think and say we should do in an emergency? ….. Yep, I know what will happen, and it’s not going to be good for a lot of people. Alright for some, but again those who cannot afford it will suffer. This Tory Government has it in for you and me!

  5. Once again the people who organise these meetings show complete ignorance. If they cannot work out where to hold an accesible meeting what hope is there that they can make any sensible decision regarding the location of these vital services the are proposing.

  6. It doesn’t really matter how many meetings are held, or where. It’s a done deal. Quinn Estates will get their p.o. nodded through, and a “shell” of a new hospital will be built in Canterbury. QEQM will lose its A&E. There will be no emergency provision in Thanet.

  7. Before you even look at the pro’s and con’s of Hospital reorganisation for the dubious benefit of the patients… It is interesting that the redevelopment at Canterbury Hospital is based on the prospect of 1000’s of homes being built…would the NHS then be leasing back the new hospital buildings at ever increasing costs – no doubt with fully maintained leasing arrangements so its costs all the way with no ownership?

  8. Quinn Estates are only interested in building houses in return for a shell of a hospital.This shell will cost very little in the scheme of things, far less than the rest of what is needed for a new hospital. Will Quinn Estates then be allowed to forgo the amount of social housing they must provide ? I have heard Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely . So we can lose NHS in many areas to provide a builder with permission to build. They are giving the NHS nothing. Who put this coven in power to run hospitals and make decisions ?

    • I was just thinking the same. It would be interesting to look at the planning ‘offer’ to Quinn. Like you I suspect its section 106 money and any other community provision that they should offer will be offset. Having been on a planning committee and seen the ‘top line’ offer made in public and compared it to what is written in the ‘pinks’ (confidential papers) the two have been streets apart. If we are expected to believe their offering we should be entitled to see all papers to do with this ‘kind’ offer! Having had to travel to Canterbury A&E from Ashford with a dislocated knee I can confirm it is a very long and painful journey (1.5 cylinders of entonox) Leave things as they are, apart from enlarging the facilities for A&E at both locations.

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