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downsmail.co.uk` Hospital is safe, assures trust


FEARS that Maidstone Hospitalwas too small to survive an NHS shake- up have been put to rest.


THE Department of Health (DoH), West Kent Clinical Com- missioning Group (CCG) and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) have all re- sponded to MASH (Maidstone Ac- tion for Services in Hospital) with assurances about the future of Maidstone Hospital. Dr Bob Bowes, chairman of CCG,


says: “We share a clear view that the people of Maidstone deserve and should receive high-quality care, locally delivered where possi- ble.


“We are committed to the need


for Maidstone Hospital to develop and have a long-term future and cannot envisage a situation where both Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals do not have anA&E department. Dr Bowes pointed out two signif-


icant NHS trends, one of which would localise many services as close as possible to where people live. But the other centralises some specialist services to achieve suffi- cient activity to ensure consistent high quality. “We willwork to ensure decision making is open, based on solid ev-


idence and achieves best outcomes for patients – both our hospital sites must succeed and excel,” he said. The DoH says powers to deal


with a failing hospital trust would only be used in extreme circum- stances and patients and public would have “a proper say”. It added the powers “cannot be used as a general approach for reconfig- uration of acute services – a process that is properly led locally by NHS commissioners”. MASH chairman Dennis Fowle


said: “These assurances are impor- tant andwelcome.”


Diabetes services


CONSULTANT-led specialist serv- ices for diabetes will be available in four locations inWest Kent by De- cember, says the NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group. Staff from many GP surgeries


have completed specialist diabetes training so thatmore than 200,000 patients can receive services in the community rather than in hospital.


Monthly prescription


TOavoid wastage patients willnow be given prescriptions for a 28-day period but GPs have discretion to prescribe for a longer period.


A LONG-awaited plan to develop Maidstone East Station and the re- dundant sorting office in nearby Sandling Road has been received by Maidstone Council. The outline application, from


Station revamp may be on track Friend’s cycle test


nearby Springfield. The development, which would


Solum Regeneration, comes 15 years after the development po- tential of the site was first dis- cussed, and hot on the heels of a decision by the borough council’s planning committee to refuse per- mission for a supermarket at


also take in the Cantium House of- fice block, proposes a superstore (8,296 sqm), café and 580 parking spaces, a filling station, and further units with widespread uses includ- ing financial and professional serv- ices, hot food takeaways and a “drinking establishment”. The plan also includes a new rail-


way station building (330sqm), with parking for 560 cars.


Dion gets outdoor gym


ANOUTDOORgym has been pro- vided by Ditton Parish Council at Kilnbarn Recreation Ground along- side the community centre car park. The fitness centre has eight pieces


of equipment, with usage instruc- tions attached, aimed at all ages from 14 upwards. The gym offers choices from a


Cllr Alan Piper on the new equipment


gentle introduction to fitness to a full workout, and each unit is de- signed to target a specific range of muscle groups. The parish council said itwas de- lighted to provide the equipment, thanks to a donation from the Big Lottery Fund, so that all residents could begin or maintain a healthy lifestyle. We reported last month that a playground on the site had been given a makeover.


A FRIENDSHIP that started at school is the motivation behind a marathon cycle ride from Portugal – across the Pyrenees – to Maid- stone on August 1. The money will make visiting the


renal unit at the Maidstone Hospi- tal as pleasant as possible for pa- tients in future – an ambition casually mentioned by Richard Winchester to his chum of 42 years after receiving treatment there. Richard (50), a car insurance salesman from Hedley Street, Maidstone,was diagnosed with in- myeloma - an incurable form of cancer - in 2005 and, in 2012, needed a kidney transplant from his wife, Alison. Now Gary Blesson, who runs a


boot camp for bikers in Portugal and has known Richard since he was eight has volunteered to do the fund-raising ride, along with fellow rider David Shepherd. Gary, who gave Richard his nick-


name of Richello when theywere at school in Surrey, said: “Chello men- tioned in conversation his gratitude to the staff at the renal unit for giv- ing him precious time with friends and family and I wanted to do something to help him say thank you.” The 1,400-mile ride from Mi- randa de Corvo, in central Portugal, is expected to take them twoweeks. They will arrive at Dover on Au- gust 15, where they hope cycle


News


Richard (left) and Gary


clubs will join them for the final push to the hospital. Gary said: “It will be tough, but


I’monly doing the ride. Chello has been amazing, coping with every- thing. He has strength I can only imagine and I would do anything for him.” Richard, who has a 24-year-old


son, said: “Gary’s a lot fitter than me and loves a challenge and I have every confidence the pair will go the distance.” He says the renal unit – and that


at Canterbury – have played a major part in his treatment, as has his wife – a sales manager for a re- cruitment firm in London. Back atwork, after another round


of chemotherapy, Richard, who is in remission again, joked: “I can’t get away with buying her cheap presents any more, that’s for sure. You can sponsor the Delucci


Chello challenge by visiting www.delucci.co.uk.


Supermarket shoppers targeted by thieves


SHOPPERS are being warned to watch out for purse thieves oper- ating in supermarkets in Maid- stone and Malling. Heartless thieves have targeted elderly women – mostly in their 80s – who have had their hand- bags and purses stolen while gro- cery shopping. In one incident, an 87 year-old


22 Malling July 2014


woman had her handbag and purse stolen from a trolley in Mor- risons, Larkfield. The victim noticed her belong-


ings were missing as she was shopping, but did not see anyone acting suspiciously. Similarly, in Sainsbury’s at


Aylesford, the offender struck without the victim being aware.


Five purse thefts were reported


in one week from stores in Lark- field,Aylesford and Tonbridge. In most instances the purses


were taken from handbags inside shopping trolleys. Not only did this mean the loss of cash, but also bank cards and driving licences. Although elderly people are particularly at risk, police have is-


sued a warning to all shoppers to be on their guard. Purse chains are available from your local PCSO and handbags should always be zipped up or fastened shut and kept to the front of you where they can be seen. Anything containing valuables should never be left un- attended on top of a pram, shop- ping trolley or a mobility scooter.


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