I'm hosting a meeting with Concern for Health in East Kent (CHEK) at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Faversham to discuss the proposed reorganisation of hospitals in East Kent.
The last time our local hospitals were reconfigured, we ended up with a half-baked downgrade of Canterbury Hospital, A&Es which have been impossible to staff, and too few services achieving excellent standards of care.
This time we need to make sure that the NHS gets it right.
We recently got the great news that Kent is to get a medical school. I'm delighted as this should help us attract more doctors to work locally. It's close to my hurt as I worked with the two Universities in Canterbury since 2016 on the bid, as well as lobbying for it in Parliament. Now we need to make sure we get a fantastic hospital too.
Canterbury is the best central location for a new hospital providing specialist care for people across East Kent. A developer has offered to construct a new hospital building, which will be a huge help with the cost. Building on our success securing a Kent medical school, we now have the chance to make East Kent a place for truly excellent healthcare.
In the next few months there will be a public consultation, but we don't know yet whether the option of a major hospital at Canterbury will even be included. I strongly believe it must be. If it isn't, how can anyone suggest people have truly been consulted?
The decision lies with Kent & Medway Strategic Transformation Partnership (STP). On 27 April we will be joined by its Chief Executive, Glenn Douglas. He will give us an update and you will have the chance to ask questions and tell him your point of view. Representatives from the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust have also been invited.
Do please come - and if you can, please do let me know in advance by email to firstname.lastname@example.org so I have an idea of how many people to expect.