Published: 00:01, 30 July 2018
The physiotherapy department at Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital is set to be scaled down, it has been revealed.
From October, all physios who have been working at the Bell Road facility will be moved to Sheppey Community Hospital.
The clinics are run by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) and the department includes a gym, consultation cubicles, a consultation room and a staff room.
KCHFT’s chief operating officer Lesley Strong said: "We always want to deliver the best possible care to our patients, so we have taken the decision to centralise our services at Sheppey Community Hospital, primarily because the demand at Sheppey hospital is greater than that at Sittingbourne and it no longer makes sense to have two large departments.
"We will continue to provide an outreach clinical service at Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital."
It is thought the move will affect about five members of staff.
How it impacts on waiting times remains to be seen but last month both Sittingbourne and Sheppey departments saw all patients within 18 weeks of referral, with 75 per cent of patients requiring urgent appointments seen within two weeks.
'We will continue to provide an outreach clinical service at Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital' - Lesley Strong
A spokesman for Swale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which pays for and decides what services are provided and where, said patients would still be seen at Sittingbourne: "The CCG is working closely with a number of providers to offer high-quality physiotherapy services to patients in Sittingbourne and Sheppey from a range of locations in the area.
"KCHFT is the sole provider of physiotherapy services in Sheppey, while there are multiple providers in Sittingbourne.
"From October 1, at KCHFT's request, KCHFT will be providing an outreach service only at Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital, with all physiotherapists based at Sheppey Community Hospital, so it can provide the most efficient service for patients.
"While the service provided by KCHFT will be reduced in Sittingbourne, other providers will take over so that patients can continue to access physiotherapy services in Sittingbourne without interruption.
"The CCG is in the process of communicating these changes to local GPs, including clinic locations and hours of operation."
GPs are able to refer Swale CCG patients to either East Kent Therapy Rehabilitation Alliance, KCHFT, Kesson Physiotherapy Services, Medway Community Healthcare, Premier Physical Healthcare or Physiotherapy2Fit.