If you thought the idea of an evening spent listening to local councillors, debate next years council budget was depressing, you'd be right, however the prelude to the meeting in the form of a briefing given by Stuart Bain Chief Executive of East Kent Hospitals, referring to the future of emergency treatment for major trauma, wasnt without some concerns either.
I understand that management of East Kent Hospitals are currently "engaging" with staff, doctors and local MP's over changes in dealing with major trauma. This apparently follows from advice by the Royal College of Surgeons, the drift of discussion (I wont use the word consultation just yet, since that's the formality were we comment on official proposals that are usually set in stone) anyhoo if you'd like to bone up on the subject this document might help.
The jist of East Kent Hospitals University Trust thinking is that improved resources will be funnelled into the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, and similar plans being suggested for the Medway Maritime Hospital at Gillingham and the new Pembury Hospital (That's the one even the locals struggle to get to) the rationale being that major trauma injuries currently treated in London Hospital's should be dealt with closer to home.
It sounds a good idea and maybe it is, however many of us remember that its not too long since you couldn't get anything but the most basic emergency treatment here in Thanet, so I'd like to see some confirmation that Margate Hospital is not once again to be sidelined and rundown.
After Mr Bain had made his presentation questions were invited, Cllr Iris Johnson piped up expressing appreciation thanks and gratitude to the chief executive for coming to the meeting, Cllr Ezekiel raised important points about the difficulty relatives and friends would have visiting particularly those on low incomes, Cllr Ian Driver, also bought up travel time (as someone who once worked in Ashford my best time, late for work! is around 40minutes) and more importantly the issue of treating the elderly, nationally it's clear that some old people are neglected and over the years I've seen short comings first hand, however from his response to that last issue and my own correspondence with Mr Bain and resulting in a prompt resolution, I'm inclined to think that things are genuinely improving.
When the "consultation" proper takes place which I understand will start in April, lets hope we get all the facts and that focusing resources in Ashford does not mean the thin end of the wedge in which we see Margate Hospital reduced once again to cottage hospital status despite being in the middle of East Kent's largest population.
UPDATE Since posting this it has been suggested that maybe I have attributed things that I shouldn't etc. see comments So as ever you may wish to read this with caution, it is my personal take and recollection.