Published: 12:19, 13 December 2019
Eighty percent of people believe the planned new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) should be located at Gravesend rather than Darent Valley Hospital, according to a new survey.
An independent report of the findings of the 12-week urgent care public consultation has been published today, after almost 16,500 people had their say on whether the UTC should be at Gravesham Community Hospital, Gravesend, or Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford.
Findings show that 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), while the remaining 15% either had no view or did not answer the question.
Both options will bring together the existing urgent care services provided by the minor injuries unit at the community hospital in Gravesend and the White Horse Walk-in Centre at the Fleet Health Campus in Northfleet, all under one roof to create the new UTC.
Responses from the questionnaires, feedback from key stakeholders, 30 community roadshows and three public listening events were analysed by an independent agency, and the NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group also worked with Engage Kent to gather feedback from people with disabilities and those living in rural parts of the area.
The top reasons people gave for choosing their preferred location were that it was easily accessible by car or public transport and close to where they live.
People who preferred Option 2 supported having the UTC located next to the existing A&E department. Many people, irrespective of their preferred option, raised concerns around parking and traffic congestion at Darent Valley Hospital and a perception that the facilities at the hospital were already being overstretched.
Other issues that people identified included public transport, cost of parking, hospital facilities, availability of adequate staff, pressures on existing services, and better promotion of NHS services. People also felt that the UTC should have particular regard to the needs of local residents such as the elderly, those on low income or who may not have English as their first language.
Dr Nigel Sewell, local GP and Urgent Care Clinical Lead for the CCG said: “We want to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. We were very pleased with the number of responses and comments we received.The public consultation has helped us to identify key issues that are most important to local people and we will be considering this feedback when we make our final decision.”
A copy of the full report of the consultation findings and executive summary are available on the CCG website.
More by this authorChris Hunter