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Health campaigners to demand answers at public meeting in Canterbury over hospitals' A&E crisis

By Gerry Warren

The future of healthcare in east Kent will be debated at a public meeting tomorrow amid fears the future of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital is increasingly under threat.

It has been called by the campaign group Concern for Health in East Kent (Chek) which has invited hospital trust bosses and clinical commissioners to the meeting at Northgate Community Centre in Canterbury at 10am.

While news that the city's universities are bidding for cash for a medical school has lifted spirits, there are still serious concerns about the future of the K&C which has lost most urgent care services to the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford.

Concern for Health in East Kent chairman Ken Rogers.

Concern for Health in East Kent chairman Ken Rogers.

Chek campaigners say they only way to ease "unacceptable" pressures on the  A&Es in Ashford and Margate is to return acute services to Canterbury. But now they fear that may not happen.

Chek chairman Ken Rogers said: "We are getting increasingly worried that radical decisions will be taken to combat the horrific state that exists in the acute healthcare in east Kent.

"I questioned Simon Perks, the accountable officer of the local clinical commissioning group recently about what was being done to ease the horrendous waiting times in our local A&Es. I asked him if it was too little too late, and he said it could be. 

"Now we are hearing rumours that there may have to be urgent structural changes to the hospital services which we believe could mean closing one of our hospitals and that could be the Kent and Canterbury.

"I will tell them now that any attempt to further kill off our hospital will be met with huge resistance, protest and demonstrations ."

Meanwhile CHEK plans are at an advance stage in arranging a protest at the Department of Health and delivering a letter to secretary Jeremy Hunt.

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