Published: 16:29, 02 May 2017
Two parliamentary candidates have joined forces to fight for the future of Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
Julian Brazier and Helen Whately have written to chief executive of the hospital trust Matthew Kershaw following the announcement that junior doctors are going to be transferred to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and the QEQM in Margate.
They are pressing Mr Kershaw to make sure an acute hospital in Canterbury is within their plans for the future.
They are also making the case that Kent needs a medical school to attract more doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
In their letter to Mr Kershaw, they wrote: “We believe that the forthcoming consultation should propose an acute hospital at Canterbury.
"This should be included in at least one of the options, otherwise you will not be giving residents a genuine choice.
"Secondly, Kent would benefit enormously from a medical school to attract the brightest and best doctors, nurses and other health professionals here.
"While you advised that a medical school could be successful irrespective of hospital locations, having a major acute hospital close to the main medical school site – which is proposed to be in Canterbury – would strengthen the bid.
"This should be an important factor in the evaluation of options.”
Helen said: “People in Canterbury, Faversham and surrounding villages rely on Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
"I want to see acute care continue to be provided at the hospital. The journey times to the other local hospitals are simply too long, especially by public transport. People say “all roads lead to Canterbury” for a good reason.
"What we really need is a new acute hospital in Canterbury, along with a medical school, to make Kent a centre of excellence in healthcare." - Helen Whately
"What we really need is a new acute hospital in Canterbury, along with a medical school, to make Kent a centre of excellence in healthcare.
"Ever since I was elected in 2015 I have been urging local healthcare leaders to come up with a vision like this and offering to fight for funding.
"Everyone recognises things have to change, so now is the moment to seize the initiative and be ambitious."
Julian added: “The local NHS has been my highest constituency priority for many years. The best solution for local hospital services is – when funds allow – a concentration of services in Canterbury as the actual and transport hub of East Kent.
"After a tremendous battle under the last government to keep the Kent and Canterbury open, a solution was reached which is itself under pressure today. We now face a situation where the options for the future are distorted by mistakes from that outcome.
"We must not make the same mistake again of looking for an expedient solution rather than looking forward. It is essential that further evolution of local health services takes us towards the best long term goal not away from it. Current issues with junior doctor manning should not be allowed to drive us in the wrong direction.”