02 JAN 2018

Millions more for east Kent hospitals

I welcome news that millions of extra pounds – the equivalent of 150 nurses – is being invested in east Kent hospitals this winter.

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has been granted an additional £3.42 million to cope with winter pressures. Health bosses tell me Buckland Hospital has prepared earlier and more extensively than ever this year, with a focus on extra staff and community support to help discharge patients quickly.

We've been fighting hard for a fairer share of healthcare in Dover and Deal – so this extra funding is great news. We all want to know the NHS is there for us and our families whenever we need it. So I'm pleased for the extra support at this critical time, when cold weather and flu increases pressures on hardworking hospital staff.

We've just had a new cataract surgery centre open at Buckland. There are almost twice as many clinics operating at the hospital than when it first opened. Yet I still want it better utilised. Dover and Deal residents deserve first class healthcare on their doorstep, and I will keep up the fight for it this year.

A total of 32 outpatient specialities are based at Buckland Hospital in Coombe Valley Road, delivering 9,895 clinics each year. It compares to 25 departments delivering 5,020 clinics at the end of 2015. Seven new consultants have been recruited to work at the hospital in recent weeks, including in its brand new cataract surgery theatre which opened in December. And at a recent meeting, health chiefs told me "good progress" was being made on getting GP services co-located at Buckland and Deal Hospital in 2018, creating primary care hubs with extra doctors.

The extra Government funding for hospitals in east Kent is the equivalent of 150 annual nurse salaries, part of a £337m funding boost across the UK laid out in the recent Budget. It comes on top of an extra £2.8bn investment over the next two years.


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Charlie Elphicke

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