Facebook campaign to downgrade QEQM misses the mark
A Facebook campaign that has seen thousands of people sign
up to fight a downgrading of A&E in Margate is unfounded,
health chiefs say.
East Kent Hospital Trust has rushed to reassure residents
in Margate accident and emergency services at the QEQM
Hospital are NOT being downgraded.
That is despite an online battle to "save" the vital service
gathering 8,000 signatures.
In the first few hours alone, the "Save A&E at Margate
Hospital" Facebook site had more than 5,000 people joining.
There were concerns plans to transfer emergency
trauma patients to Ashford could put lives at risk.
But Stuart Bain, East Kent Hospital Trust Chief
Executive, said that is not the case.
"Nationally the trauma policy is that there will be trauma centres
backed up by trauma units," he explained.
"This is for people who have severe, life-threatening injuries,
this is typically very, very small numbers and at the moment the
Kent and Medway trauma network is looking at how this would
work across Kent and which hospitals could work as trauma
It's understood the William Harvey hospital in Ashford, the
Medway Maritime hospital in Gillingham and Pembury hospital
near Tunbridge Wells are all being considered as locations for new
units that will back up King's College hospital in London.
Mr Bain added: "It's about making sure that people with very
serious injuries: head injuries, spinal injuries, crush injuries
or multiple internal injuries are seen, stabilised and then
sent to a London teaching hospital."
Statistically, it is thought just 20 to 40 patients in Thanet
will be classified as major trauma victims each year.
But the online campaign continues to attract
Campaigner Brian Smith-Stewart, of Union Row,
Margate (pictured left) said: "We're really concerned about the
distance; how far it's going to be in an ambulance. If they've just
been involved in a severe trauma they don't want to be racing
about 100mph in an ambulance do they?
"You've got to think about relatives too, how will the relatives
get there if they're living in Thanet or any of the villages all
around? We've got a perfectly good hospital where we are."
But according to the hospital trust, the QEQM would never meet
the trauma unit criteria.
Mr Bain concluded: "It has to be on the way between where they
suffer their injuries and the major trauma centre. The QEQM is on
the coast, you'd most likely be taking people away from the
trauma centre in London."
Over the next three months the hospital trust will
also be conducting a major strategic review of all
its clinical services in a bid to improve patient care.
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