Published: 12:56, 21 October 2018
| Updated: 12:58, 21 October 2018
A petition has been launched in a bid to save an A&E department at a hospital.
It was confirmed this week that emergency care at the William Harvey in Ashford could become a thing of the past if a new state-of-the-art facility is built in Canterbury.
Residents, concerned that lives will be put at risk by the possible shake up, have hit back by starting a petition, yesterday.
Hoped to attract the attention of the health secretary, the online document has received almost 1000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
Creator Jo Bridestock writes: "Why is this important? The hospital is easily accessible and near a major motorway.
"Moving the A&E department to Canterbury, as proposed, will put lives at risk.
"Canterbury does not have the road infrastructure to support a major A&E department for outside areas."
Others have left comments explaining the reasons for their objection.
One said: "Simply because I'm a parent. I don’t drive.
"This could be life and death for my son if we have an emergency situation. Disgusting to be putting precious life at risk."
Another said: "Canterbury is too far especially when it's an emergency."
Another added: "If we don't have an A&E here I believe more strain will be put on the ambulance crews and they are already constantly busy as it is!"
Two options are up for consideration.
The first is to keep A&E departments at Ashford and Margate - while at Canterbury, there will be a 24/7 GP-led Urgent Treatment Centre treating illnesses and injuries which are not 999 emergencies.
Option two proposes to build a new super hospital in Canterbury, which would see Ashford and Margate completely lose their A&E services.
It would mean there would be a single major emergency centre for east Kent at Canterbury, which would also deal with acute medical care and complex inpatient surgery.
The super hospital plans are all dependent on developer Mark Quinn who has offered to build a facility shell in Canterbury - in exchange for 2,000 homes.
Multi-million pound funding from the NHS would then allow the hospital to be kickstarted, but firstly, planning permission must be granted.