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Six clinics from Deal Hospital will be lost to the new Dover hospital

Six clinics from Deal Hospital will be transferred to Dover, it has been announced.

The South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed clinics for gynaecology, endocrinology, general medicine, thoracic medicine, orthotics and healthcare of the older person, will all move to the new Dover hospital when it opens in April.

Cardiology and ear, nose and throat clinics will partly change.

Deal Hospital
Deal Hospital

The consultants will be based at the new Dover hospital but GPs will lead the clinics in Deal.

It is believed a number of nurses will be transferred to the new hospital, too.

Dover District Council’s shadow portfolio spokesman for health and wellbeing, Cllr Ben Bano, said: “I’m particularly concerned about the effects of any transfer.

“The healthcare for older people I think is a case that is going to be particularly difficult because we’re going to expect some people who are in a fragile state of health to have to go to Dover. They don’t all have cars. It’s going to be difficult to get on public transport for many of them.

“I think that will be one service in particular which is going to be a problem.”

Along with the transfers, the CCG said a number of services will be provided differently.

For ophthalmology, a consultant-supported glaucoma service will soon open in Deal High Street opticians.

Cllr Bano said: “Up until now we’ve had a consultant led service (for ophthalmology) in Deal. We’re talking about people with poor or no eyesight. The proposed replacement services in Deal don’t go far enough.

“Yes, they’re putting things in but it’s at the lower end of the scale. You won’t be able to see an ophthalmologist in Deal. You won’t see a consultant. You’ll see everybody but.”

Labour Parliamentary candidate Clair Hawkins feels Deal Hospital is a treasured part of the local community
Labour Parliamentary candidate Clair Hawkins feels Deal Hospital is a treasured part of the local community

He added: “I think the biggest problem is the Health and Social Care Bill which caused absolute chaos and took money out of the NHS which could have been spent on Deal Hospital. And, if we’d not had that bill, we’d actually have a lot more money to support the services at Deal.”

Deal and Dover Labour Parliamentary candidate Clair Hawkins said: “This is particularly worrying for people who find it difficult to travel out of town for treatment.

“Deal Hospital is a treasured part of the local community and people highly value the services and staff there.

“Dr Sally Russell and her team have been working incredibly hard to secure the future of Deal Hospital to meet medical and care needs of local people.

“Sadly, securing the future of Deal Hospital is hindered by the Tory-led government’s wasteful top-down reorganisation which has led to fragmentation, overstretched staff and services and NHS clinics getting charged sky-high rents since the transfer of hospital buildings to PropCo Ltd.

“Patient transport has also got much worse since it was outsourced and improving it has to be a priority.

“Deal Hospital’s role in the community is vital and must be protected for the future. There is a real opportunity for Deal Hospital to provide integrated health and care for the local community, especially for older people.

Clair Hawkins and other supporters
Clair Hawkins and other supporters

“Labour would integrate health and care with the extra GPs, nurses and home care workers we need and repeal the damaging Health and Social Care Act that is leading to the break-up and sell-off of our NHS.”

Last week, KentOnline gained reassurance from Kent Community Health NHS Trust that services including minor injuries and physiotherapy would remain at the site.

The message from the CCG is that, although services are being lost, the opening of the new Dover hospital will mean more people in the district will have less distance to travel to receive the services. Deal and Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said: “My chief concern is we look after the elderly people and the vulnerable.

“Everyone knows we were sold short in 2006 when they agreed to axe outpatients in Deal Hospital.

“It’s important to remember the decision left Deal Hospital teetering on the edge.

“I’ve been fighting to get a better deal particularly so the most vulnerable people are able to access services at Deal Hospital.

“I’ve done my best to get the best settlement for Deal. The hospital trust need to invest in transport links. I will continue to work for local services for the benefit of Deal.”

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