Today marked a real progress for the Kent Health Commission with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley launching the commissions first report into healthcare.
The Kent Health Commission is important as it will make it more likely that we get the proper hospital we all want to see back in our community. As everyone knows, services at Buckland Hospital were decimated over the past decade. Getting a new hospital that is modern and fit for purpose has been a key priority for us all. The hospital trust say they will do their bit and break ground in the new year. However the hospital trust will not provide the beds. The beds would be provided by the local doctors and Kent County Council's Social Services. That's because the beds won't be acute beds but recovery beds.
In the hospital bit you should be seen as an outpatient, have tests and some procedures. In the bed bit you should be able to recover from treatment or illness. It will be very much what you and I would think of as being a cottage hospital. The key thing is that a lot more hospital services should be provided locally and spare people long trips to Ashford.
So where are we along the path to seeing it all up and open? The hospital bit should be built next year. As ever, I won't presume on anything until we see bricks laid. The beds bit will take longer. That is why the health commission is so important. The commission has brought everyone together round a table. Having everyone round the same table really helps.
Fingers crossed we keep moving forward
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