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£19.5 m boost for Kent and Medway NHS

By John Nurden

Five projects in Kent and Medway are to get a £19.5 million cash injection as part of a £760m investment in the NHS announced by Health Minister Jeremy Hunt today.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust gets up to £1m to create an Urgent Treatment Centre for Medway Maritime Hospital at Gillingham

Medway Clinical Commissioning Group will get up to £8.5m for a new Health and Wellbeing Centre in Clover Street, Chatham, and up to £6m to develop the Strood Health and Wellbeing Centre.

Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham. (1331030)
Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham. (1331030)

Thanet is to get up to £2.5m for a healthcare hub in Margate and Romney Marsh has been awarded up to £1.5m for a new primary care service providing GP and nurse appointments.

The funding comes as the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday and is the single biggest injection of its kind in more than a decade.

Glenn Douglas, chief executive of the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, which is set to take over from existing clinical commissioning groups, said: “This is fantastic news for Kent and Medway.

Glenn Douglas - Chief Executive of the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (1330991)
Glenn Douglas - Chief Executive of the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (1330991)

"This funding is a huge boost for the county and gives us the green light for several exciting and innovative projects to provide new buildings, new services and improved care.

“It will help us provide quality care in communities and builds on the recent announcement of developing a Medical School in Kent.

“It will also help us to continue to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population.”

Dr Fiona Armstrong, chairman of NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group (1331000)
Dr Fiona Armstrong, chairman of NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group (1331000)

Sittingbourne GP Dr Fiona Armstrong who co-chairs Kent and Medway Clinical and Professional Board and is also chairman of NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The additional funding is great news for patients and health and care professionals alike.

“It will help us to further our plans and ambitions for better local care, improved urgent care services and greatly improve patient experience.

“Patients consistently tell us they want more services to be provided in their local communities without the need to travel to hospital.

"This funding boost means we are in a much better position to do that.”

Secretary of State of Health and Social Care Mr Hunt said: “As the NHS reaches its 70th birthday it is absolutely fundamental that we support it to evolve to offer patients targeted, smarter and more effective care so that services remain world-class for years to come.

“We are giving money to pioneering NHS projects for new buildings, new wards and beds and projects where patients will see their GP, hospital and community care services working seamlessly around their individual needs.”

Today’s £760m investment in Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) is part of a £2.9 billion fund being made available to the NHS by the Government from 2017 to 2023 to modernise facilities and improve patient care.

Of the cash announced today, Medway is to receive up to £15.5m.

Stuart Jeffery , Chief Operating Officer at Medway CCG (1148226)
Stuart Jeffery , Chief Operating Officer at Medway CCG (1148226)

Stuart Jeffery, chief operating officer at Medway Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is fantastic news for patients in the area and means we can put our plans for the Chatham and Strood Healthy Living Centres into practice sooner than anticipated.

“Chatham is one of the most deprived areas in Medway and with the growing population it is particularly good news for local care.

“The plans are part of the development of the Medway Model – a new way of joining up health and care services so that, where appropriate and possible, they can be delivered closer to people’s homes.

“We have been engaging with residents for some time and now this is what most people want.

“The plans are also key to the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Local Care agenda set up to provide more services at a local level.”

Cllr Adrian Gulvin, Medway Council’s portfolio holder for resources, said: “We are delighted with the funding announcement.

“The council has been leading the One Public Estate initiative locally, including the plans for Chatham and Strood.

“We are pleased the work we have been doing has led to this funding.

“The introduction of health and wellbeing centres in Strood and Chatham will improve access to a range of health services for residents.

“The proposals include excellent health services. There are also plans to build much-needed town centre housing above the Chatham centre.”

The redevelopment of the Urgent Care Centre near Medway Maritime Hospital’s A&E department will provide a lounge for mental health patients, an improved waiting room, eight treatment rooms and a designated area for the diagnosis and treatment of deep vein thrombosis.

Mr Jeffery added: “The development of the Urgent Care Centre will simplify the urgent care system for most people; ensuring speedy access to the most appropriate specialists; improving patient experience and health outcomes; and make the best use of skilled staff.

“Although plans for the centre were already being put into place, this funding will allow us to make physical changes to the hospital building that will further improve the patient experience.”

Lesley Dwyer, CEO of Medway hospital (1331012)
Lesley Dwyer, CEO of Medway hospital (1331012)

Lesley Dwyer, chief executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust which runs the hospital said: “This is great news for our community and for the NHS in Medway and builds on improvements we have already made at the hospital.

“The funding for the Urgent Care Centre will mean a brighter, purpose-built environment for urgent care patients, fully integrated with our newly-redeveloped Emergency Department and other hospital services.

“Together they will provide comprehensive, high quality care, ensuring more patients can be treated in the right place, providing a better experience for them and allowing our Emergency Department team to focus on those who need emergency care.”

The capital funding is part of a £760m package announced in the Autumn Budget which is being used to trigger an unprecedented acceleration of service modernisation.

Forty NHS hospitals and community services will receive funding.

The Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership is a collaboration of all NHS organisations across Kent and Medway, Kent County Council and Medway Council.

The Partnership oversees the development of the health and care Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Kent and Medway.

The news comes at the same time that Swale Clinical Commissioning Group has axed two weight-loss clinics at Sittingbourne and Sheppey Hospitals.

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