Mega-hospital proposal - "A pipe- dream"
North Thanet's MP, Sir Roger Gale, has described as ďA pipe dream that will go up in smoke" the suggestion that a " Mega-hospital" should be built on the outskirts of Canterbury to replace existing A&E and minor injuries facilities within the area controlled by the East Kent Hospitals Trust.
Speaking following discussions at the QEQM hospital in Margate Sir Roger said:
"Setting aside the geographical and social and medical impracticalities of this proposal, which were conclusively demonstrated at the time of the "Tomorrow's Healthcare" consultations, there is the small matter of the six hundred million pounds or so that would be required to build a brand new hospital and which, even allowing for land sales, simply is not available.
There has been a longstanding ambition, fostered by a small number of medical staff, to see the creation of a single major East Kent Teaching Hospital as a substitute for the Margate, Ashford and Canterbury hospitals currently serving the public of East Kent. While pronouncements from the Royal College of Surgeons, based upon modern best- practice, may be designed to enhance patient safety they have unfortunately had the effect of stimulating this ambition and as a result destabilising much- needed recruitment to posts in our existing hospitals.
The unwelcome and unjustified CQC report, which I have already raised in person with the Chairman of that organisation, led to considerable loss of morale amongst the eight thousand very dedicated NHS staff working in our local hospitals and the last thing that we now need is another period of ill- founded speculation and uncertainty.
Of course we have to accept that the medical game moves on, that times and demands change and that it is necessary to respond to fresh needs and requirements and, sometimes, to take difficult decisions in relation to the location and deployment of services.
But the geography of East Kent has not changed and, as we demonstrated so definitively fifteen years ago, we need our three centres, supported by our local community hospitals, in which so much money has already been invested, in order to meet the elective and acute demands of the whole area. That requirement, coupled with the harsh facts of finances, makes this "blue sky" proposal both unnecessarily alarming and dangerous.
I have already stated my view to the Interim Chief Executive, Chris Bown, in person. We need, immediately and under his Direction, a period of stability and not the uncertainty generated by kite- flying. There is a hard job to be done to address the real concerns arising from increasing pressures on hospital and GP services and that job will not be made easier by unrealistic speculation whether it emanates from Trust Directors, Medical Staff or vested narrow community interests"