Published: 11:00, 09 June 2014
| Updated: 12:18, 09 June 2014
There is fresh hope for Faversham's Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) as health bosses announce that they are searching for a new provider.
The contract for providing the valuable health service is going out to tender for a second time, in a bid to find an organisation to carry the unit forward.
They have also announced that the current contract has been extended until April 2015, despite original plans to close the unit in March this year.
NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group have agreed to start a new procurement process following recommendations from the Faversham MIU steering group.
The provider winning the tender will be required to run a minor injuries service in Faversham from 8am to 8pm, seven days per week.
It is hoped that access to X-rays from at least 8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday will also be included. X-rays are not currently provided at Faversham MIU.
The winning provider will be required to run a strong awareness-raising, advertising and promotional campaign to support use of the new service.
The steering group’s recommendations were presented at the CCG’s governing body meeting on June 4 by Brenda Chester – Vice-chair of the Public Reference Group, Graham Elvey – a Faversham resident, and Neil Fisher, Head of Strategy and Planning at the CCG.
Members of the steering group include representatives of Faversham GPs, The Friends of Faversham Cottage Hospital, Faversham Town Council, Faversham patients, Swale Borough Council, Kent County Council and Healthwatch.
In addition to starting a new procurement process, the governing body agreed to work on extending the existing contract with IC24 until April 2015 to allow time for the procurement process to be completed.
It was also agreed that the steering group will continue. It will work with the CCG to develop plans for a community network in Faversham, and will work towards ensuring a full seven-day 8am-8pm service for minor injuries in Faversham.
Commenting on the work of the steering group, Chair of the CCG Dr Mark Jones said: “This is a positive step forward and it is hugely constructive to have members of the public and representatives from local organisations working with us in developing health services for the town.
“They have presented us with a persuasive, evidence-based case which makes me confident that we should go back out to the market to try and find an appropriate provider for the service.”
Chair of the steering group Cllr David Simmons said: “I am pleased with the progress made to date, this is a good example of different interested groups working together to find a viable and workable solution.
"I am pleased that the existing contract is to be extended until April 2015, but there is still a lot a work to do and the Steering Group will be meeting again in early July.”
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