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Rise in staff at Darent Valley Hospital is a 'good thing’

New figures released by the Department of Health show that staff numbers at Darent Valley Hospital have risen since 2010.

The number of nurses, midwives and health visitors has risen by 21% and the number of doctors by 4%.

The figures were released after Dartford MP Gareth Johnson submitted a written question to the Department of Health.

Overall they show staffing levels have increased from 1,817 in 2010 to 2,212 in September last year.

Darent Valley Hospital. Picture: Nick Johnson
Darent Valley Hospital. Picture: Nick Johnson

The number of doctors and dental staff rose from 264 to 276 but the biggest rise was seen in qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff. In 2010 there were 665 qualified nurses, midwifery and health visiting staff and as of last September there were 844.

Mr Johnson said: “On the occasions I have visited the hospital it is always clear patient care is the main priority.

“Any figures showing the number of medical staff going up has to be a good thing.

“I don’t claim that Darent Valley Hospital gets things right 100% of the time but it is a good and improving hospital that is an asset to the area.”

Meanwhile, health commissioners have approved their budget for the next financial year.

NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been allocated £284 million for 2014/15 by NHS England – an increase of 2.24% – to plan and pay for most of the area’s health services.

It includes an additional £280,000 to recognise areas of deprivation. That works out at £1,145 per person.

The CCG was created on April 1 last year as part of a government shake-up of the NHS. It put local GPs in charge to plan and buy health services for the area’s 249,000-strong population.

All of the area’s 34 GP practices are members.

Dr Bhaskar Bora
Dr Bhaskar Bora

Dr Bhaskar Bora, who chairs the group, the third largest in Kent, said: “Our vision was to create a clinically-led commissioning organisation which puts patients first, improves healthcare and operates with minimal bureaucracy.

“We were also determined to involve patients, the public and voluntary organisations in decisions more – and that has produced some very good results.”

He added: “Public feedback is vital to us. It helps us see services through the eyes of patients and can highlight areas where change is needed.

“By joining up services we can often avoid duplication. But the changes are not all about saving money.

“The bottom line is about making it easier for patients to access help, nearer to their homes wherever possible, and to take pressure off hospitals like Darent Valley so they only treat the people who really need to be there.”

The next governing body meeting in public will be on Tuesday, April 29, at Gravesham council’s Civic Centre, Windmill Street, from 1pm to 4pm.

Questions based on the agenda – which can be downloaded from www.dartfordgraveshamswanleyccg.nhs.uk five days before the meeting – can be asked before and after the meeting.

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