If we think of hospitals at present two big questions come into our minds. Can our local hospitals cope if COVID-19 cases go up steeply in East Kent? And if beds fill up with COVID cases shall we able to have the treatment we need for other serious conditions? However, beneath the surface big changes in hospitals services are being planned, and we need to know about them, and fight our corner if we have to.
That is why a group — some of us veterans of the successful fight to save the Kent and Canterbury over fifteen years ago — have come together to make sure that local people know what is going on, and are able to make an informed decision when the time comes. We have taken the title ‘OptionTwo 4U’. Why? Because the NHS plans that have been evolving over the past three years are focusing on two possible options for creating a single acute specialist hospital for East Kent: Option 1 would put it in Ashford; Option 2 – in Canterbury, next to the existing Kent and Canterbury buildings.
We believe the NHS are right to think of one major hospital, because it does not make sense to try to have the most specialist services on each of three sites—apart from anything else there are not enough highly skilled clinicians or nurses to go round. The current three-hospital system is creaking at the seams. We also believe Canterbury is the right location, as it is in the centre of East Kent.
We have set up a website and there you will find more detail to explain what we have just said (and soon there will be details about the Facebook presence we are setting up). We will post any trustworthy information we get hold of about the NHS plans. We invite members of the public to post in questions, and we will do our utmost to find answers if we don’t know them. Also, we ask you to send us in details of YOUR experience of NHS services. We believe passionately in the value of the NHS, and we want to celebrate good experiences publicly. However, if your experience is NOT good then let us know , and we will make sure the people responsible for that service know about it.
Martin Vye is Chair of OptionTwo4U and Vice Chair of the Canterbury Society