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Deal and Dover MP, Charlie Elphicke, calls for action plan to ensure fairer share of healthcare in district

By Eleanor Perkins

MP Charlie Elphicke is calling for an action plan that ensures a fairer share of healthcare for Dover and Deal, following a damning report on three east Kent hospitals.

In a report released today, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and Kent and Canterbury Hospital as inadequate and QEQM at Margate as requiring improvement, with A&E rated inadequate, recommending the trust that runs them - East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust - be put into special measures.

QEQM Hospital, Margate
QEQM Hospital, Margate

Mr Elphicke said: “It will come as a real blow to the hard working and committed doctors and nurses who work there. People will want to know what has gone wrong and can we trust our local hospitals to provide the care we need. My answer is yes - but the areas requiring improvement are matters I have been making an impassioned case on for the past four years.”

Mr Elphicke points out that the trust is financially sound.

He said: “This is not about a lack of money. The trust has low death rates. It has low hospital acquired infections. It has deeply caring doctors and nurses, as the report itself says.

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke denies any wrongdoing
Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke denies any wrongdoing

“Yet the report sets out areas for immediate action. These are areas where our local hospitals in Dover and Deal have a key role to play. Areas that will be familiar to all of us who have been working together for many years to get a fair share for health care locally. We’ve been making the case for the new Dover Hospital to have effective emergency care supported by doctors. This would do much to take the pressure off A&E at the big hospitals and reduce the waits the report criticises.

“The full local diagnostic services at Dover and Deal we’ve campaigned for would also take the pressure off the big hospitals.

Deal Hospital in London Road
Deal Hospital in London Road

“The powerful new outpatient service at Dover we all fought for will, when it opens next year, improve outpatient services. This would help deal with the outpatient problems the inspectors have reported. Battling to secure effective outpatient services at Deal after it was agreed they should go back in 2006 was the right thing to do.”

A digitalised image of the new Dover Hospital
A digitalised image of the new Dover Hospital

Mr Elphicke added: “I have spoken to the Health Secretary calling for a strong action plan and swift changes. I am seeking a meeting with Monitor, the regulator of the hospital trust. We need to see an action plan that ensures we get a fairer share of healthcare for Dover and Deal. A fairer share that won’t just benefit us. It would take the pressure off the larger hospitals and ensure that services provided at all hospitals in east Kent see the improvements the inspectors have called for. Swift changes that will ensure we get the best possible healthcare in Dover, Deal and east Kent for the years to come.”

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