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Bed-blocking crisis as care targets missed


BED-blocking in local hospitals has reached an “unprecedented level”, with KCC flouting care transfer targets by more than nine times.


In July 2015 there were 1,529 in- stances – more than double the total a year earlier – where patients were stuck in beds in West Kent hospitals (covering Maidstone, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells) without a suitable place of transfer. Of these, 687 were due to a lack of social care capacity – massively breaching the target of 77 – leading to a threat from NHS bosses to sub- mit invoices to social services and KCC.


“The lack of engagement from senior officials within social services is regrettable,” said the Maidstone


and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. The trust board was told that un- less the issues were resolved the hos- pitals would struggle to cope with demand, even when a new ward opens at Tunbridge Wells Hospital. The problem is compromising standard four-hour A&E waiting time targets, as well as care for pa- tients undergoing booked opera- tions. Extra beds and temporary staff have been deployed.


A report to the Maidstone and


Tunbridge Wells Trust board said: “The local committee established to manage emergency care – the Ur-


gent Care Network – has been inef- fective.”


During July in the Maidstone and


Tunbridge Wells hospitals there were 250 patients waiting for trans- fer. The situation improved slightly in August, but there were still care transfer delays for 181 inpatients (7.1%) in the two hospitals. This ac- counted for 1,400 lost bed days. After a meeting of the trust, KCC and Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells and local government secre- tary, the trust backed down on its threat to invoice the county council.


12 Call to protect cherry trees Facts of life


AUTUMN leaves and their glorious red tinge create a charm that makes this season the most special for many. But residents in Salisbury Road, Maidstone – including Pat Walsh, pictured – are berating the loss of some autumn colour after two of their beloved cherry trees were cut down by KCC. They fear that more of Salisbury Road’s trees, which produce a stunning spring blossom, could be for the chop unless the road is designated a conservation area.  Full story – page three.


in your area CHILDREN born in one part of urban Maidstone can expect to live more than 13 fewer years than else- where in the borough.


The typical life expectancy of a child born in Bridge ward, which covers the London Road corridor between The Broadway and Alling- ton, is 76.45 years – below the UK average of 81. By contrast, a child born in the Detling and Thurnham ward, east of town, has an ex- pectancy of 89.52 years. The areas with the next lowest life expectancy are the two wards abutting Bridge to the west: Fant (78.84) and Heath (79.85). Loose (79.29) was the only other of Maid- stone’s 26 wards to have a life ex- pectancy below 80 years. The town wards with the highest life expectancy rates are Barming (86.16), Allington (85.42) and East (83.4).


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In the Maidstone borough life ex- pectancy is 81.73 – identical to that of Kent as a whole. The figures were released as part of Kent Public Health Observa- tory’s Health and Social Care Maps.


16 Objection promise


A KCC vow could be tested by a proposal to build 250 homes near Sutton Road.24


Transport closure


THE park and ride facility at Sit- tingbourne Road will close next year.


Money worries


FINANCIAL issues dominated en- quiries to Maidstone Cit- izens Advice Bureau.


34


Comment Obituaries


46-47 32-33


26-27 Parish Councils 42


AN allotment holder was allowed to use his airgun to deal with nui- sance woodpigeons in Barming; loud music was reported in the Loose valley.


Crime Reports 43


A NEWLY-DELIVERED tumble dryer was stolen in London Road.


30 November 2015 No. 223 News County departure


KCC is planning to remove its services from Maidstone Gate- way in King Street to save money.


Donations suffer


CHARITIES are missing out due to a loss of business car parks to housing. 6


4


Park attraction


THE new Cobtree Visitor Centre and Cafe has opened to visitors. For more information see the Maidstone Council-sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the centre pages.


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