Outpatients must travel to Outskirts of Whitstable from Monday
AFTER all the furore, from Monday people in Herne Bay wifl have to travel to Whitstable for outpatient services. There has been fierce opposition to the plans to base an outpatients clinic “hub” at Estuary View in Whitstable. with the running down of services at both Herne Bay’s Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital and Faversham Cottage Hospital, but the decision that was ratified in July finally becomes reality next week. Not only are campaigners concerned that thousands of patients will now have to travel further for their treatment, but they fear for the future of the Queen Victoria. Speaking in the autumn, Gillian Fowler, chairman of the Herne Bay hospital’s League of Friends, said:
“It makes me nervous and in the depths of depression I can see us folding.”
“I can’t see what we are going to do to combat it. This government likes private companies running services and if the plan involves selling off the Whitstable and Tankerton Hospital, too, that will help fmance it. I am horrified, to be honest, but it’s not a surprise. It all appears to be about money rather than patients.”
However, it is claimed that the Estuary View centre will offer patients a wider range of out-, patient services, with a full range of diagnostics. Once fully operational, the site will provide outpatient services to up to 20,000 patients on the north Kent coast. Mary Tunbridge, divisional director of clinical support services, said:
“We are delighted to be opening the excellent new outpatient facilities at Estuary View, which will provide patients with a wider range of outpatient services on one site. The services will also be supported by a full range of thagnostics including MRI scans. We will be offering patients appointments both earlier and later in the day and also on a Saturday morning.”
NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) endorsed the changes at a public meeting in July following a public consultation.
Simon Perks, CCG accountable officer, said:
“The proposals match our own vision of delivering high-quality care as close to home as possible while making sure we are innovative in how we use our resources.”
East Kent NHS Trust has also invested in improving bus links from the towns to the site. The new outpatient clinics will include paediatrics, rheumatology; endocrinology (diabetes), gastroenterology health care of older people, ophthalmology general surgery; respiratory vasculax, trauma and orthopaedics, and gynaecology (which will move later).
Herne Bay Times, January 21st 2015