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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.

18 Call to protect cherry trees New challenge

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.

NEW INDIAN TAKEAWAY Opening on Tuesday 27th October Order on line

01622 205205 61, Union St. Maidstone ME14 1ED

to M20 J8 snub THEGallagher group is to challenge a Government inspector’s decision to refuse it permission for a ware- house development close to M20 Junction 8. The company says Maidstone Council’s opposition to itsWaterside Park proposal relied too heavily on its existing local plan, which is now irrelevant, and on evidence by Cllr Tony Harwood, labelled “a self-con- fessed enthusiastic amateur” by Gal- lagher Properties’ chief executive Nick Yandle. A High Court judge will examine

on January 13 whether the devel- oper’s challenge to the ruling by in- spector KatiePeerless justifies a fresh public inquiry. Mr Yandle told Downs Mail: “We

are not picking on Tony Harwood, or his comments, but no matterhow earnest he may be, a public inquiry is an evidence-based process and the planning inquiry inspector put far too much weight on his narrative over the evidence.” The planning in- spector dismissed two proposals for the site on appeal in September, one of 56,000sqm and a smaller scheme of 45,528sqm.

34 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

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.

Transport closure

THE park and ride facility at Sit- tingbourne Road will close next year. 22

Longer lifespans

RESIDENTS of villages in the North Downs lead local life expectancy rates.

Money worries

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


Comment Obituaries


42-43 44

Parish Councils 58-59

A ONE-WAY system was wanted in Bredhurst; whippet racers were leaving rubbish in Detling; horse manure was being left on paths in Downswood; a new neighbourhood plan was desired in Harrietsham; football parking was a problem in Leeds.

Crime Reports 59 32 O

A p n

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



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