‘Shock’ as Kent hospital staff admit ‘We wouldn’t want loved one being treated here’

Hospital trust

By Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Esson

Alarming survey results reveal fewer than half of staff at a Kent NHS trust would be happy for loved ones to be treated there.

In what bosses concede is a “shocking indictment”, just 45% of workers at East Kent Hospitals are content with the “standard of care” – one of the lowest in England.

Even fewer, at 44%, would recommend it as a place to work – again the worst of 122 acute trusts in the country.

With hospitals spread across Ashford, Dover, Canterbury, Margate and Folkestone, East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) is one of the UK’s largest.

EKHUFT chiefs discussed the results of the NHS staff survey at a board of directors meeting on April 4.

“We acknowledge they are shocking, they are really bad and we have got a huge amount of work to do to rebuild trust,” said chairman of the board Stewart Baird.


Only 45.13% said “If a friend or relative needed treatment I would be happy with the standard of care” at the trust, while the average across the NHS is 63.32%.

Whereas at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, the result was 74%.

Only 60.55% said that care of patients and users is the trust’s “top priority” – also the worst of the 122 NHS trusts that run hospitals, and much worse than Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells, where the result was 80.5%.

East Kent hospitals was also the worst of any acute trust on the question “we each have a voice that counts,” with an average score of only 6.21 out of 10.

“It is awful, there’s no other word for it,” added Mr Baird.

‘Shocking indictment’

Andrea Ashman, chief people officer at the trust said the 41% response rate from staff was “below the national average of 46%.

“So it’s a minority response – we didn’t even make 50% of the organisation.”

She continued: “We know there are people who didn’t respond because they felt there was no point in responding because not much would change.”

She described the trust being the worst of 122 acute trusts on three measures as “a shocking indictment of us as an organisation.”

The board has “touched base” with approximately 750 staff about the results “through a series of executive-led listening events,” Ms Ashman added.


It comes after EKHUFT has been embroiled in crisis for years.

In March, KentOnline reported that the trust had the seventh highest number of patients waiting over 12 hours for an A&E in England, and only 45% seen within the target time of four hours.

Maternity services have also been under fire – in October 2022 the independent Kirkup Review found that 45 baby deaths at the trust since 2009 could likely have been prevented with proper care.

In January 2023 the trust’s maternity services were inspected again by the Care Quality Commission, and the report released in May said they were still “inadequate.”

EKHUFT is also in a financial mess – originally planning a deficit of £72m in the 2023/24 financial year, the trust ended up with a deficit of £117.4m.

Now EKHUFT must save £49m over 2024/25 to make up for it – currently aiming for a draft deficit of £85.8m by April 2025.

The trust’s chief finance officer Tim Glenn (pictured) explained in the board meeting they have 73 different savings schemes in the works.

He explained reducing patients’ time in hospital is a key cash-saving plan to help pull itself from the doldrums.

“What we’re aiming to do for the last year is bring that length of stay down, process more patients through our hospitals in a timelier way, deliver better care for patients and as a consequence of that, hold our cost base steady but see more work through that cost base,” he said.

Mr Glenn stressed: “We’re not looking to cut services, we’re looking to improve the services we’re providing to patients.”

Ms Ashman added: “We are in a situation where we are being required to make some quite serious changes to the composition of our workforce.

“In common with other NHS organisations we are being asked to reduce the numbers of staff that we have,” she said, referring to a recent consultation with admin staff on possible job cuts.

However, after the meeting, a trust spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “The £49m savings programme does not include plans to make redundancies; where reductions in staff posts are made, we aim to redeploy affected staff wherever possible.”


  1. ENT has serious problems. It would appear that one consultant who only holds clinics in the morning, I guess because he’s doing surgery in the afternoon, appears at present to be working two days a week for the NHS. My urgent referral is now over 10 weeks into waiting time, over the allocated 8 weeks in it’s grading of urgent, and for appointments that are at least a month away – an additional 4 weeks.

    Worse still is that the clinics that were held at the QEQM are now no longer available, nor at Canterbury, leaving the William Harvey in Ashford as the only East Kent Hospital offering the service.

    If you are broke or have caring responsibilities, or don’t have access to private transport, getting to Ashford is a nightmare. Added to the fact that it takes time and only morning appointments is a problem for many.

    Any efficiency savings the NHS is making are being passed on to the patient who now is unlikely to be treated in a timely fashion or be able to access the health supprt that they need.

    The Tories have always hated the NHS are are determined along with Labour to create an apartheid healthcare system for the public and worse still adopting the US systems.

    I will be contacting the East Kent Hospitals Trust to ask them to explain the failoure of this particular service, especially being mindful of the increasing population of Thanet.


  2. Having worked in the NHS for 42 years I’m not surprised one bit by the survey Conservative governments have done their utmost to run the NHS down and when Labour have been in power they have not had the time to repair the damage. Thatcher started the biggest damage by making hospitals, NHS trust she was planning to sell each one separately like she did the utility companies. Nurse training is another disaster taken out from the hospital in-house schools of nursing, and given over to universities, which greatly lowered the standard of nursing. More and more private companies allowed to leach off the NHS to line the pockets of shareholders. Not giving a damn about patients. As long as the profits are there even charging hospital staff repeat hospital staff parking fees to park at their place of work, helping other human beings, you can’t get much lower than that The private companies have completely taken out the word caring from the NHS. They have a huge turnover of staff because their management are useless, but as long as they wear an important looking badge on their lapels or got the word manager on their office door they think they know it all, those of us who have been in the service long enough have seen in plain sight the rot that has been actively encouraged and promoted by here today gone to tomorrow Health Secretary’s who have been unique in that day of all been a complete waste of space.

  3. Doesn’t surprise me at all… just look around you, half the population are overweight, and do absolutely nothing to try to improve their health!

    • Each time I come to comment on Kathy’s stories, I can pretty much guarantee that a conservative bore whose handle thesedays is Ms. Pink, a choice of nom de plume that may amuse him, can be guaranteed to denigrate and disparage.

      There have been very serious issues discussed on IOTN comments and you Ms.Pink are an ongoing destructive participant.

      You single-handedly reduce the value of of Kathy’s journalism for which we are all endebted as she does an excellent job and is a very necessary part of Thanet’s community.

      I am surprised IOTN puts up with your endless, disruptive flippancy.

      You could of course resign, gracefully.

      • Yet you totally ignore the elephant in the room… or is that elephants?

        Fact is, the British have become fat and lazy – and, like thefat and lazy USA – free healthcare for everyone is no longer a viable option because of it.

      • Recently, Ms Pink helpfully posted a link to the IoTN’s “acceptable use polic” for posting comments.
        Since then, Ms Pink has enthusiastically demonstrated the need for such a policy.

  4. Why would anybody be shocked? The dead babies & constant ignoring of urgent recommendations across East Kent Hospitals, instead giving a golden handshake to the latest failed ‘safe pair of hands to change things’ leader & anointing a new ‘safe pair of hands’ that just carries on with business as usual & the punishment of whistleblowers/bullying year after year is not enough to wake people up?

    Anybody who has had to go to A&E knows what a joke it has been for years & a new redesign/coat of paint(the usual big corporation ploy used to gaslight people & convince them things have changed) isn’t going to fix it.

  5. I’m shocked that people are shocked.

    This is what a % of people wanted by voting tory. You vote tory you are voting for the running down of all public services. Every single one of the services.

    You can’t get a face to face doctors appointment. You can’t get a dentist.

    The frontline NHS are brilliant. The pen pushers on big money can do one.

    This country is on its knees so thank you to the % that voted for this. I guess with your pvt health care and pvt dentist, and your pvt number plates you’re OK.

    • I managed to sign up to a new NHS dentist in Thanet just two weeks ago – thanks to recent Tory funding to improve things. But don’t let facts get in the way of your rant.

      • Poor blighter! I certainly wouldn’t want to look into your north and south,but don’t let me stop your rant about the Tories,the poor, overweight people and all the other devils in your dictionary of demonology.

      • ‘I managed to sign up to a new NHS dentist in Thanet just two weeks ago’ indicates you have not had, or had trouble finding a dentist for some time, yet you thank the Tories now you finally have one? Dear oh dear.

          • Ms Pink/ Peter Checksfield’s comment regarding his new NHS dentist is exceptionally thoughtless considering how difficult it is for people to enrol with a dentist now. Telling us about his improved finances is also insensitive.
            But this is what we expect from him. He is an extremely unpleasant person.

          • Again, it is NOT difficult now – at least in Thanet. As at around 4pm this afternoon, there were at least three accepting NHS patients (in Ramsgate, Westgate and Birchington).

          • And if you read again, my financial situation has deteriated – hence the reason I’m now using the NHS.

            Not that it’s any of your business.

      • I wonder why, after a dozen years of underfunding NHS dentistry, the Government is suddenly putting in some extra cash? It’s not as though they didn’t know the situation was dire. I have emailed our MP on several occasions to point out that there was no NHS dentistry available in Thanet.

        • I do hope you thanked him for listening to your concerns and ensuring that action was taken. Sounds like a bloke worth voting for.

          • If you’re polite, both of our MPs have an excellent reputation for replying. Have you ever written to your MP?

          • No.
            MacKinley sent me a huge spreadsheet of Kent dentists registered with the NHS.
            There was no indication of which ones were or were not taking on new patients.

          • Well at least he replied – which is more than I’ve had from some TDC cllrs that supposedly represent my area.

  6. It’s probably because of you Ms Pink who could afford to pay private who plead poverty by using NHS services blocking others in genuine need from getting an appointment. That’s why you vote Tory because you are selfish by nature. As for obesity there used to be a photographer in Thanet who took photos of nude. women the photos were all tasteful and appropriate but I noticed at that time it made others more conscious of their bodies in a positive way so there was not many obese females about compared to now where they are wobbling about everywhere, however there was not many fast food outlets about either then so there must be a link between no nude women photos obesity and fast foods out let’s. Just my observation you understand.

    • I can’t afford, otherwise I would.

      As for blaming fast food outlets – I tend to walk past them, and instead visit the greengrocers and (sometimes) the butchers, and then cook my own meals. Both cheaper and more nutricious.

      Oh, and I’ve just cycled 15 miles – despite being in my 60s and with a dicky ticker. If I can do it, then so can others… if they can be bothered.

  7. well I an over weight I wouldn’t say obese but mine is I am in constant pain which I can’t do much walking so how you can blame those that are obese I don’t know you don’t know everyone’s circumstances of why they are that way I try to walk has much has I can I eat healthy too so please stop blaming it on obesity MRS PINK its not my fault I’m over weight I don’t need to say my health issues but I have many I don’t mean to be rude to you has you are my elder but stop with your rudeness its not easy for most who are either I had a friend judged by their weight at QEQM and although we have many genuine nurses we also have some rude arrogant and disgusting nurses there too im all for our NHS and those who genuinely do care about others if your that fit n healthy why don’t you go out your way to help those that need it sorry but all i see from you is criticism towards others never seen a nice comment from you tbh try it you may get further I wish you plenty more years of good health and happiness

    • Half the population of the UK are ‘over weight’, but they don’t boast about it.

      Please just for once, accept that the wheel of fortune has dealt you a good hand, but others may not be so fortunate.

    • I wouldn’t apologize to Ms pink it is so rude to everybody. I wish kathy would ban him and his horrible remarks

  8. I recently had a prostate operation in K&C ,the hospital is definitely past it’s best,and could with a good paint job .The staff were brilliant ,the follow up checks ,again the staff were brilliant,cannot fault the Doctors and Nurses and the porters and other help

  9. Is it a bird,is it plane, no it’s Ms Pink with her dicky ticker.
    Half the population of the UK have ‘dicky tickers’,but they don’t boast about it.
    Please just for once, accept that the wheel of fortune has dealt you a good hand, but others may not be so fortunate.
    Bill, Ms Pink in her own obnoxious way has a perfect right to access NHS dentistry,and she is not blocking others less fortunate, but it is true that NHS dentistry alongside this hospital trust are examples of how badly things have slipped in the last 14 years

  10. We all know the NHS has been broken by the conservatives what in gods name have those morons not broken? Anyway know the staff in the sexual health clinic they were absolutely excellent to me. I was out litter picking as I do from time to time when I picked up a big piece of paper as I pushed it into the rubbish sack and needle syringe that was in the paper stuck into my hand, somebody carelessly discarded it I telephoned 111 for advice and they advise me to go to the sexual health clinic at QE QM because they were be able to advise and vaccinate me in case the needle which had been used contained hepatitis C, hepatitis B, HIV, or anything else that I could’ve contacted I phoned up the clinic and within an hour I was there being cared for by a wonderful doctor and nurse and fully advised and examined and I could not wish for a better care alternative was for me to sit in A&E for five or six hours or more. So if you’re out there volunteering folks like I do picking up later, be careful what you pick up because some people could not care less about others unfortunately.

  11. Can I just say Ms. Pink is a truly horrible person and best ignored. By responding you are just feeding their ego. Ignore

    • Did you find a NHS dentist? There’s at least 3 of ’em in Thanet currently taking new patients (I just checked for you).

  12. BBC news story today:

    “The Foreign Office statistics reveal £4.3bn of its foreign aid budget went on supporting refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.”

    That would sort out the NHS.

    Yet you all still support Labour?

  13. Yea and they were able to do this fraud under the tory government. Probably thanks to all the tory cutbacks.

    Labour aren’t in power to have stopped this your party are.

    Just goes to show the torys haven’t got a clue and yes if the torys ran the country properly than money could have gone into the NHS. But it wouldn’t have.

  14. Ah! I wondered when asylum seekers would enter the debate, that is if you think reasoning with Ms Pink is a debate ,as opposed to talking to someone whose whole persona seeks to cast blame on those least culpable.
    Point number one, the NHS is a Labour party construction, which has been altered and messed about with over the last 76 years.Churchill if had any interest in what we now call the welfare state, and that is doubtful, would have created something like ‘Obama care’ in the US.
    Blair and Brown for all their failings increased expenditure considerably and eased pressure on the NHS. Your best read would be the Marmot review https://www.health.org.uk/publications/reports/the-marmot-review-10-years-on
    The foreign aid budget is for foreign aid, not baling out the inequities of the Home office and their £400m Rwanda lunacy.
    If we boosted the economies of reliable, stable 3rd world countries and that is a tall order,perhaps we would not see so many asylum seekers.As it is we should put them all to work so that doing things that the indigenous population won’t do like farm work etc.As I said before most of the immigration is approved by the UK government and the asylum seekers make up only 6% of the total.
    Why is Pink not checking all this out for herself,could it be because she prefer rant on about those less privileged than herself instead of having even a scintilla of empathy for anyone.It is woe is me and it’s all their fault, that Birchington is not like Switzerland, and i am not receiving greater income.

    • I’ll save this one for bedtime reading (and Thank You in advance, for what will in all likelihood be a good night’s sleep).

  15. Maybe the problem is the surge in the population of the U.K. Not the natural population, but the people, without proper documents, as surely this puts a strain on the healthcare, as well as other aspects of the British economy. The answer is, well, I have my thoughts, but the answer is for members of the House of Parliament to decide, no matter what party, to form a coalition to sort the problems of Great Britain out, and forget about regional divides.

  16. Tory this – Labour that …they are all owned by the same Masters. The same people destroying the NHS are the same ones who have systematically destroyed our working-class communities, the opportunity for people to get a decent job, our education system, our housing and a large majority of the backbone of the UK population.

    It doesn’t matter if they’re red, blue, yellow or green …they are all paid by the same Owners …if any of you think “labour” are the answer I put to you 1) Keir Starmer – the head of the CPS on “each” occasion when they “refused” to prosecute Jimmy Savile …. He is now the leader of the opposition …so that was a good pay off – sorry I mean coincidence. 2) Tony Blair … as we all know “ things did not get better”…. not to mention the weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist.

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