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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.

10 Cost of living

in market town WEST Malling is one of the most expensive market towns in the UK to buy property, according to a new report. It was ranked eighth priciest in

Park packed for first parkrun

ALMOST 300 runners turned out when Malling launched its own parkrun at Leybourne Lakes Country Park. The weekly 5k timed run, which is free and open to everyone including

children, is the latest of 15 parkruns to be organised in Kent and more than 400 across the country. Parkrun events are held throughout the world. The Malling course covers two laps around the main lake and starts near the water sports centre near the main car park at the country park. Funding has come from Tonbridge and Malling Council and KCC Cllr Sarah Hohler. Event director Tracy Brooks said: “I always knew that an event like this would be popular, but the way that the residents of Malling

the country, with buyers typically paying £382,270 for a house, top- ping the average for Kent by more than £160,000. The survey by Lloyds Bank


found that, throughout the country, buyers will part with almost £24,000 more to live in a market town than in surrounding areas. Property prices in West Malling have risen by more than 25% in the past seven years and the average cost of a house is now 13 times the average annual earnings of a worker in the area. Only one other Kent market

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

town was listed in the nationwide top 10. Cranbrook, where the aver- age price of a home is £392,479, came in at number six. Beaconsfield was named the most expensive English market town with an aver- age house price of £997,222, while Lewes (£408,641) and Midhurst (£403,893) both in Sussex, were the next dearest.

4 Kent’s Most Awarded Optician

Book Now 01732 617557

Money worries

FINANCIAL issues dominated enquiries to Maidstone Citizens Advice Bureau. 13

Final last orders

MEREWORTH has lost its last pub after the Queen’s Head closed.

Comment Obituaries

46-47 32

16 26

Crime Reports 34

A NAIL gun was stolen from a shipping container in Aylesford.

Parish Councils 42-43

AYLESFORD had committed up to £10,000 towards a pedestrian crossing in Eccles; lack of hall availability had hindered a table tennis club in East Peckham; horses were finding their way onto a footpath in Leybourne; a phone box was being adopted in Offham.

November 2015 No. 223 News Heritage scheme

TWELVE blue plaques – remem- bering significant figures such as George Orwell – are to be erected in West Malling. 4

Donations suffer

CHARITIES are missing out due to a loss of business car parks to housing. 8

Inside this edition:

LOCAL shops West Malling Flow- ers, Monks Clothing and Soles with Heart have all won awards. For details, see the four-page sup- plement by Malling Action Part- nership, which supports people, businesses and events in the 11 parishes in the Malling area.

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