Published: 12:33, 10 January 2020
| Updated: 12:33, 10 January 2020
A decision on the future location of urgent care services for patients is set to take place next week.
Health chiefs will decide on the service for patients across Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley at a meeting to be held at Dartford Civic Offices on Thursday.
Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, and Gravesham Community Hospital, Bath Street, Gravesend, have been earmarked as two potential sites for the creation of the urgent treatment centre (UTC), in a bid to reduce the pressure on A&E departments.
It follows a 12-week consultation process in which more than 16,500 responses were submitted.
Kent County Council’s health and overview scrutiny committee was told responses rose from 2,500 to 16,500 in the last 72 hours of the consultation.
Findings show overall, 80% of those who completed a survey favoured Gravesham Community Hospital (Option 1) as the location for the new UTC, as opposed to 5% who thought the UTC should be based at Darent Valley Hospital (Option 2).
The remaining 15% either had no view or did not answer the question.
An independent report was published alongside the consultee responses with the top reasons people gave for choosing their preferred location as it was easily accessible by car or public transport and close to where they live.
Members of the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG governing board will now consider the findings of the report and the concerns raised in the responses.
The public is invited to attend the meeting and listen to the debate and ask questions about the decision.
Proposals were criticised when first released, particularly over its transport plan by various councillors, who felt it was ill-thought-out and would confused patients.
County councillor Bryan Sweetland (Con) said: "My concern really is – will we be left without any sort of hospital in Gravesham?"
Concerns were also raised by Dartford's neighbouring borough Bexley that it would lead to patients "migrating" across.
The adoption of either site would bring together the existing services currently provided at Bath Street and the White Horse Walk-in Centre at Fleet Health Campus under one roof.
Fleet Health Campus recently came in for criticism following a merger of three practices resulting in its Director Andy Doyle issuing an apology to patients.
This included a grandmother who claimed she waited days for an appointment for her sick granddaughter who doctors would only assess "over the phone".
Two doctors resigned from their posts in November and the practice manager Sandra Bodle also stepped down, having been in the role less than six months.
The meeting will take place from 1pm – 2.30pm in Room B12, B Floor, Dartford council, Civic Centre, Dartford, DA1 1DR.
More by this authorSean Delaney