It’s freezing and the roads are icy: How is it Canterbury doesn’t have a functioning A&E?

The Kent and Canterbury Hospital

Here’s the scoop: a man crossing Canterbury’s busy New Dover Road on Monday afternoon was struck by a vehicle.

It happened just before the first snow began to fall at the junction with St Augustine’s Road. Fortunately, the man’s injuries were not life-threatening.

Even better, the Kent and Canterbury Hospital is roughly 600 yards away or a one-minute ambulance drive away.

So naturally the patient was driven the 15-miles to Ashford. At rush hour. In the freezing cold. Along the A28, one of the most constipated major roads in east Kent – and a single carriageway to boot.

Yes, madames et monsieurs, I bid thee welcome to the madness that is the hospital service in east Kent.

In this crazy environment nothing is ever certain, everything is up for change and God only knows what the future holds.

What really ought to concern us is the relentless tinkering and playing around with hospital services and staff and therefore with the health of people.

Ex-trust boss Matthew Kershaw

The east Kent hospitals trust lost its chief executive Matthew Kershaw in September, largely because of the confused and infuriating process of reorganisation he was overseeing.

Hundreds of injured and sick people were self-admitting to the K&C only to be transferred to Ashford or Margate – or worse left languishing on a plastic chair in a waiting room for eight hours before being seen.

If it is pursued to conclusion, Mr Kershaw’s programme of reform – called a Sustainability Transformation Plan in management speak – would see Ashford as the area’s super hospital, all bells and whistles.

Margate would retain units such as maternity and a limited A&E while little old Canterbury would just have elective surgery and a rehab services.

But as anyone with any foresight will be able to detect, this plan is potentially disastrous for Canterbury.

While the health trust is happy to let the K&C look like it is on its way to the knacker’s yard, the city around it is growing, its population expanding.

Great housing estates to the east and west and most notably to the south of the city in the form of the Mountfield Park development will soon be rising from the fields.

The universities show no signs abandoning their empire-building programmes while the schools continue to pull in pupils from well outside the district.

Tens of thousands more people will want to feel secure in the knowledge that there is a hospital ready to admit them if they fall sick or injured.

The reality is that this great city needs a functioning hospital – not a building which sends them elsewhere or leaves them marooned in a waiting room for hours on end.



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