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MAIDSTONE is on the brink of becoming a worldwide centre formedical excellence. In a ground-breaking arrangement, directors behind KIMS – the Kent Institute ofMedicine and Surgery – are close to firming up a deal with two of the country’s top hospitals to offer satellite services. Under phase two of the development, phase

one of which is now underway at Newnham Court, off M20junction 7 near Bearsted, there are proposals for a Stoke Mandeville (Maid- stone) hospital and also some of the finestpae- diatric services in the country, run in tandem with Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospi- tal, London. Acting chief executive Franz Dickmann and

his wife Dr Phyllis Holt have been in talks with both specialist hospitals, as well as with universities around the world, in a bid to pro- vide a state-of-the-art medical university. The result is a portfolio of buildings that will in- crease the size of the hospital by a further 15,000 sq m. KIMS directors hope to apply for planning permission early in the new year and, if suc- cessful, to commence construction as phase one nears completion. As many as 140 nurses could be employed

Village protest

at Co-op plans THREE separate petitions con- taining over 650 signatures have called for the Co-operative to scrap its plan for a conven- ience store in Lenham. The company has told resi-

dents and businesses in The Square that it wants to set up shop on the site of the former Lenham Ironmongers in Faver- sham Road, derelict since an arson attack in November 2010. Residents and businesses be-

lieve the store would severely damage the thriving square’s vi- ability. At present it contains a butcher, baker, grocer, florist, li- brary, convenience store and two pubs. Matthew Cockell took over

the existing convenience store in the square four years ago, when it was a Spar, and re- named it Lenham Village Stores. In just four weeks, his petition opposing the P4

The first phase of KIMS is progressing well

in the first phase, with the job total increasing to 3,500 upon completion. The hospital is being privately funded but

will have beds for NHS patients. Mr Dick- mann said: “Future healthcare will be pro- vided by a mixture of existing NHS institutions and the private sector investing in the health care system. These institutions will provide advanced care for those who are pri- vately insured and NHS patients. “The founder members of KIMS recognise

the reality of the situation and are creating an independent holistic care unit, responding to the NHS.” Cllr Malcolm Greer, Maidstone’s cabinet member for economic and commercial devel- opment, said: “It has been estimated that the

THE family of a critically-ill Bearsted man are fighting to raise funds to sendhim toAmer- ica for pioneering treatment. Father-of-threeMarcus Bray,

from Cross Keys, was taken ill just before Christmas last year and, in January, was diag- nosed with lymphoma – a can- cer that attacks the immune system. Despite attempts to prevent

the cancer from spreading, doctors discovered a tumour behind his eye and another on his brain stem. Since then, Marcus (42) has undergone chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumours, which doctors in England say are inoperable. However, the Mayo Clinic in

the US is trialling a new treat- ment in Houston, which the family believes could help, if all else fails in the UK. They have set up a Facebook

Maidstone East Edition November 2012 No.187 KIMS ‘to link with top UK hospitals’

hospital will put £130m a year into the Maid- stone economy, which has to be good news for the town. The directors, headed by Franz Dickmann, have been through hell to get here and it is very exciting that things are finally coming to fruition. “This is a project whichwill put Maidstone

on themap throughout the world.” As well as a specialist paediatric unit,

which will be run in conjunction with Great Ormond Street, the plans for phase twoincor- porate a women’s health and birthing centre, a neurological rehabilitation centre for suffer- ers of multiple sclerosis, dementia and brain injuries, and assisted care homes for the eld- erly who are incapable of independent living. There are also proposals for a research and development unit, education facilities and ac- commodation, as well as conference facilities. KIMS is the first private hospital to be built

in Kent formore than 20 years. The list of pro- posed services includesmany not available in either the private orNHS sectors. There will be a dental surgery, a pharmacy

and outpatient consulting rooms. Directors say the catering, housekeeping and security will be of a standard “normally found in a high-quality hotel”.

Family’s battle to help dad Advice bureau

may face crisis MAIDSTONE Citizens’ Advice Bureau could face a funding crisis when welfare benefit changes take effect next year. Salaried employees – as op-

page – Marcus Bray Auction Fundraiser – that has more than 2,600 members and are organising fundraising events to swell the fund, which cur- rently stands at £1,200. Even the children have joined in,washing cars to raise cash. Marcus’s wife Toni said: “The children know their daddy is very ill and want to help. It has been difficult for them, as they haven’t been able to visit when his immune sys- tem is so low, as a single germ could kill him. “I’ve been trying to keep life

01622 750733 10 St Faiths Street Maidstone

as normal as possible for the children, while visiting the hospital twice a day.” Toni and Marcus have three children – Eden (8), a pupil at Roseacre School, Poppy (3) and Zain (2). Individuals and local


posed to the dozens of volun- teerswho help keep the service running – could find their jobs in jeopardy, as the Government tightens up on grants which have helped keep the charity afloat.

Grants from the Legal Service Commission fell from £266,534 in 2011 to £219,704 in 2012, and are set to be less than half of this in 2013. At the same time, cash from Maidstone Borough Council, which went down from £195,160 in 2011 to £185,000 in 2012, could face further cuts as the council tries to

Cars ‘staggered’ to stop rat running


Woodland Trust gets Green Flag again P3


Ex chair pans parish over ‘old guard’

Cobtree trust award winners named

P16 P24

The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102

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