Residents promised "Deal Hospital is not lost"
Improve hospital services in Deal - don’t take them away. That was the message of a packed meeting about the future of Deal Hospital.
The meeting at St George’s Church, in the High Street was chaired by MP Charlie Elphicke and was attended by 408 people - residents, politicians and health workers - all wanting to protect our services for now and the future.
They were told without hesitation that the hospital is NOT threatened with closure by Darren Cocker, clinical chairman of the South Kent Coast Commission.
The meeting was packed to discuss the future of Deal hospital
Instead, he said the commission, made up of doctors from the area, want to work out what services can be kept, what can be improved upon, or which should be transferred to different hospitals.
He said the newly-formed commission holds the cheque book, with a budget of £253 million.
They want to ensure services are “joined up,” and he admits that’s not the way it is at the moment, even in areas like Ashford, where they have the William Harvey Hospital.
“We want to help you develop something really good for Deal,” he said, but he added they haven’t got long to persuade them to get it right for Deal. He was unable to confirm a deadline for decisions.
Fears about the loss of the hospital and services were inflamed when plans for the hoped “flagship” Dover Hospital were revealed. It is believed it will suck out services from Deal making it vulnerable to future closure.
The results of MP Charlie Elphicke’s hospital survey were revealed at the meeting which rank services like out of hours doctors, dementia services, long term conditions and elderly living help as priorities.
Respondents ranked minor injuries, diagnostics, physiotherapy and end of life care as the current services they wanted to keep - prioritised in that order.
A total of 97% say they want an even better minor injuries unit and better access to out of hours doctors at Deal.
The full results will be crucial in helping them decide which services should stay.
But after seeing the results Kelly Smith, said she fears the survey has not reached young people enough.
The statistics showed sexual health and mental health were ranked lower priorities, but they are issues that strongly affect youngsters - the up and coming population.
What you can do to have your say: Fill out Charlie Elphicke’s hospital survey as soon as possible and hand it in at the Mercury office, 13 Queen Street, Deal or at Deal Hospital.
To see the full reaction, see this week’s East Kent Mercury.
- Click here for more Deal news
- Click here for more news from across the county