Published: 14:04, 05 February 2020
| Updated: 14:05, 05 February 2020
Kent MPs have called for a multi-million pound injection of cash for hospitals in east Kent, saying the condition of some buildings are so poor that patients are being put at risk.
In a joint letter to the health secretary Matt Hancock, the six Conservative MPs say £350m is needed to tackle a maintenance backlog - whatever option for the future shake-up of the three hospitals is chosen.
The letter has been signed by Dover MP Natalie Elphicke, Folkestone MP Damian Collins; North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale; Ashford MP Damian Green; South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay and Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately.
The MPs say that in the last year alone, the three hospitals have been plagued by fires, significant power cuts, frequent floods and leaks and losses in steam supplies.
“Patients have seen their care directly affected as a result. The estates are now clearly in urgent need of investment,” the letter says.
“The options under consideration will require approximately £345-360 million. Notwithstanding the option that is chosen, we call on the government to ensure the Trust receives the investment that it so urgently needs to address both its maintenance backlog, and the needs of our constituents in the future.”
Ashford MP Damian Green said: “I continue to make the case for the William Harvey hospital to be retained as a full A and E hospital but whatever the outcome of the consultation, there is an urgent need to improve the facilities and buildings. We need a plan now across all three sites whenever the decision on the reorganisation comes.”
'Patients have seen their care directly affected as a result. The estates are now clearly in urgent need of investment...'
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said: “The new record funding deal secured for the NHS means extra funds are available. We’ve been clear that investment in our major hospitals must be a priority.”
The future of the trust’s hospitals and where A and E services should be provided is under review, with consultation on two options expected to start later this year.
The state of the trust's hospitals came under the spotlight during last year's election campaign, with health secretary Matt Hancock visiting the Canterbury hospital and accepting there was a case for investment.
While the MPs are united over the need for improvements to buildings at all three hospitals, they are divided over where key services are provided from.