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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

Golden hat-trick for club

KARATE expert Katie Simp- son, from Kingswood, was one of three local people to win European titles in Switzerland. The 28-year-old was joined by brothers Michael (15) and David Pereira (12) in returning from Kimura Shukokai International's European Open with gold medals. To find out who else in

the local area won medals, turn to page three.

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.

10 New challenge

to M20 J8 snub THE Gallagher Group is to chal- lenge a Government inspector’s de- cision to refuse it permission for a warehouse 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 it con- siders irrelevant, and on evidence by Cllr Tony Harwood, labelled “a self- confessed enthusiastic amateur” by Gallagher 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

01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

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.

24 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.

Parking U-turn

A FOUR-HOUR waiting restriction for vehicles in Marden will no longer go ahead. 20

Money worries

FINANCIAL issues dominated enquiries to Maidstone Citizens Advice Bureau. 23

Comment Obituaries

Crime Reports 30 46-47

32-33 34

Parish Councils 42-43

PARENTS were parking poorly in Broomfield and Kingswood; a 30mph speed limit was agreed in Chart Sutton; bridge traffic lights remained a big issue in East Farleigh; a mobile bank was to serve Headcorn; changing wood type on goal posts aved money in Langley; loud music was being played in the Loose Valley; the clothes bank was over- flowing in Marden; pigeons posed problems in West Farleigh.

November 2015 No. 223 News Teacher death case

MAIDSTONE and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has denied a corporate manslaughter charge.

Donations suffer

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


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