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Crash victim taken to Pembury


Another Maidstone crash victim has been taken to A&E in Pembury.

A 21-year-old woman suffering from breathing difficulties was taken to the new Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury - 16 miles further away than Maidstone Hopsital - after crashing into a bollard in Sutton Road, Maidstone, just after 1.15am on Friday, December 2.


Maidstone Hospital is just five miles away from the crash site whereas the new hospital at Pembury is 21 miles away; and the AA puts the two journey times at nine minutes and 35 minutes respectively.

The accident is the latest incident to raise concern over new guidance issued to paramedics.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has always been clear that only emergency trauma surgery would be leaving the county town for Pembury, but South East Coast Ambulance spokesman Martin Sawden said all car crash patients were now being taken to the new unit.

"Road traffic collision (RTC) patients are treated as trauma, so they’re taken to the trauma unit," he said. "The clinical reasoning is that although on the surface they might have superficial injuries, they could develop more serious trauma.

"If someone has been in an RTC heavy external forces are involved, so the best place to be is a trauma unit."

Last month Dennis Fowle, chairman of campaign group MASH, (Maidstone Action for Services in Maidstone) said he had received a number of complaints from patients who had been taken to A&E departments out of the area, and insisted all minor injuries should go to Maidstone.

His comments came after five people who sustained minor injuries in an M20 pile up just two miles from Maidstone Hospital were also taken to Pembury.

None of them suffered serious injury and the ambulance service confirmed they were discharged three hours later, raising questions over why Maidstone Hospital, which still has 24 hour X-ray services, could not treat them.

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