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Faversham's minor injuries unit in the Cottage Hospital in Stone Street, Faversham, set to close

Faversham’s minor injuries unit will be closing next year.

The NHS’s announcement sparked “bitter disappointment” in the town as the news hit Faversham yesterday.

This move comes after there was only one bidder for the contract during a procurement process that started in July.

Faversham Cottage Hospital
Faversham Cottage Hospital

Dr Mark Jones, chairman of the NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Over the past few months we have been working with patients and members of the community to sign a new contract for a minor injuries service in Faversham.

“This was for two reasons: the current contract is due to expire and we wanted Faversham to have a minor injuries service with X-ray, like other minor injuries services in east Kent.

“A lot of time and effort went into attracting providers who would be interested.

"We made potential bidders aware the Friends of the Faversham Cottage Hospital and Community Health Centres were willing to support the purchase of an X-ray machine.

“But it is with regret we have to inform patients we were unable to find a new contractor.

“Only one provider made a final bid. The bid was discussed by our governing body who agreed that as the proposal does not meet our clinical specification and financial criteria.

"We will not be awarding the contract and regrettably the minor injuries service will close.

“We have requested the current provider continues until the end of March to allow patients time to adjust, and for us to make them aware of suitable alternatives.

"Those who, in the past, used the minor injuries service for treatment of minor illnesses will still be able to access care through their own GP or pharmacy.”

The current contract for the Faversham minor injuries service is due to end in January 2014 but the NHS are hoping to extend this until the end of March 2014.

Patients will now have to travel to Sittingbourne, Whitstable or Canterbury for treatment.

Faversham mayor and chairman of trustees of the Friends of the Cottage Hospital, Cllr David Simmons, said: “I am bitterly disappointed by this decision, which will be seen by many as the beginning of the end for Faversham Cottage Hospital.

“Over the years the League of Friends, very well supported by Faversham residents, has invested large sums of money in the Cottage Hospital and more recently in the community health centres.

“Our latest project was to pay for X-ray equipment for the minor injury unit.

"Not long ago we paid for the unit to be upgraded.

“If a minor injury unit cannot be justified on financial grounds, then one can hardly expect a cottage hospital to be viable.”

Dr Simon Lundy, Faversham Town Team lead for NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG said: “I am deeply saddened that we have been unable to find a provider for this service within the budget that is available to us."

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