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MP: NHS shake-up would be 'disastrous'

HUGH ROBERTSON: says people in Kent want their local services provided locally
HUGH ROBERTSON: says people in Kent want their local services provided locally

AN NHS shake-up which would see nine primary care trusts slimmed down to just three and the merger of the Kent Ambulance Service has been branded “disastrous” by Conservative MP Hugh Robertson.

Regional health chiefs have proposed creating three trusts as part of a Government-led reorganisation designed to cut red tape and management costs. It also wants to see Kent Ambulance Trust merged with neighbouring trusts in Surrey and Sussex.

Under the PCT plans, one of the trusts would organise GP and primary care for 607,000 patients across Canterbury, Dover, Shepway, Swale and Thanet.

A second trust would cover the needs of 772,000 patients in Ashford, Dartford, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells.

The third will be based in Medway, serving 275,000 patients.

But the proposals, agreed by the Kent and Medway Strategic Health Authority, is already under fire.

Mr Robertson, Faversham and Mid Kent MP, said: “I am deeply disappointed with this review which will be disastrous for Kent. It is entirely contrary to what people are constantly telling me. Namely, they want their local services provided locally.”

Merging the ambulance service would be “most damaging,” he added. “Emergency services must be co-terminus given that people’s lives and safety is at risk.”

The health authority says the planned reorganisation represents the “best balance” between the need to work strategically, meet local needs and develop partnerships with local GPs, councils and others.

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