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News | Health

A&E ‘is safe’ ALTHOUGH Maidstone and Tun- bridgeWells hospital trust has been put in special financial measures by the NHS, “thiswas not indication of any concerns about the quality of care at the trust and would not im- pact on patient care”, says the GP- led West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Both the group and the hospital

trust have insisted there is no threat to the future of Maidstone’s A&E. But merging stroke units is a consid- eration and this would threaten the future of Maidstone’s unit.

Eating disorders

IMPROVED care for people with eating disorders is likely now NHS West KentCCGis pressing for anall- age specialist service for Kent. The focus would be on patient and

family interventions and direct ac- cess to specialists. It will include: binge eating, anorexia and bulima nervosa and “atypical” disorders.

Transport service

A local NHS patient transport serv- ice is now operating, run by G4S. West KentCCGsays: “Toughnew measures to raise standards have been introduced, with greater em- phasis on customer care and getting patients home from hospital promptly.” Efforts to make savings

HEALTH leaders across Kent are considering the increasing national financial crises in the health service which have led to reports of reduc- tions in country-wide services, can- cellation of non-urgent operations, hospital bed closures and merging departments between hospitals. The GP-led budget-holding NHS

West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group has made adequate minor savings in the last two years to en- sure it works within budget without noticeably impacting on patient care. But pressures continue to grow, especially relating to increasing pa-

THEWest Kent CCG is pressing to improve local health performances and hit NHS targets in key areas. Delayed transfers of care (bed blocking) at hospitals are still high and key issues are: availability of so- cial services packages of care/place- ments/assessment beds; availability and access to inpatient beds in acute and community hospitals; and en- suring timely review of patients in A&E by speciality teams. A&E four-hour waiting times: The June performance hit 89.5% (na- tional standard is 95%).Over a three- month period A&E attendances were 6% higher than 2015.

tient demand and rising costs, and the group has been “Planning for the Future”.A key element is to reduce dependence on hospital services and re-locate this work closer to patients’ homes. Dr Bob Bowes, chairman of the

group, told the Downs Mail: “The health and social care system in every part of the country is develop- ing proposals to ensure better health andwellbeing, better care and a sus- tainable NHS for all. “In Kent and Medway we are at

an early stage of developing propos- als which will be for public debate

Diagnosticswaiting times: The tar- get is for 99% of GP referrals to be seen within sixweeks, and the actual performance over a recent two months has been 98.43%. Ambulance delays: The service’s ur- gent eight-minute response times for West Kent fell to 55% for most ur- gent patients and 44.3% for other ur- gent calls, against a standard of 75%. Referrals for treatment targets im-

prove, but are still just below the 92% national target.  The Kent 111 telephone service continues to improve, with more calls answered within 60 seconds than at any time since January.

and other interested parties. “Once further developed, propos-

als will be tested by the national health and care bodies. Then they will go forward for consideration and development. “We expect this process to begin in

the autumn. Nothing has been fi- nalised and no decisions have been made.Nochanges to services people currently receive will be made with- out local engagement and, where re- quired, consultation.”  The group has held a meeting withGPsto discuss the situation and hear views on potential changes.

Working beer to hit targets Loery of life SIGNIFICANT inequalities in life ex- pectancy have been identified across Kent. West KentCCGsays awomanliv-

ing in the best ward in Thanet can expect to live almost 22 years longer than a woman living in the worst ward.

Plans go digital MORE than 5,500 patients in Maid- stone andWest Kent now have their care plans computerised and acces- sible to NHS professionals. Almost every GP practice inWest Kent has signed up to the system.

Compassionate & caring service for the bereaved, day or night

• Pre-paid funeral plans

• Personal service day or night

• Qualified compassionate staff

Bearsted 4 Cavendish Way, Bearsted Maidstone, Kent ME15 8PW E:

01622 260200 30 Maidstone East October 2016

• Green and non religious services

• Horse drawn vehicles or modern Volvo fleet

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Barming, Maidstone, Kent ME16 9JN E: 01622 260210

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