Today I attended a "stakeholder meeting" where all the people who have to do with the proposed new Dover health facility gathered together to work out where it should go. A long list of people have to do with all this - the Hospital Trust, the Primary Care Trust, the Environment Agency, Southern Water, the current MP, the District Council, the County Council . . . the list goes on and on. Given decision making is fragmented like this, it's a wonder anything gets done, ever.
Anyway, the upshot was pretty simple. The central Dover site option favoured by the current MP was axed. Because the Environment Agency are worried the river will flood. To say I am furious would be a massive understatement. In ten years the only thing to happen locally is we've lost our hospital. Now yet another year has been wasted. The fiasco we've witnessed is a complete disgrace. The people badly need this facility. We need to deliver for the people and I'm sick of all the chat we've had. It's time for action. It's time to get on with it.
It seems we are now left with three possible sites - in the car park of the existing Buckland Hospital (the narrow bridge, the lack of parking and the difficulty of future expansion to a proper hospital are problems), Buckland Mill (possibly too expensive) or Whitfield (it's not in the centre of Dover, so some say it's too far). Obviously, because I am so passionate about a proper hospital for the people of Dover, I am not keen on the car park site as it would be hard to expand. After you've eliminated all the other possibilities, you have to deal with what's left. In my book, it's either the Mill or Whitfield.
Yet whatever happens, a decision needs to be made soonest so we can get on and build the thing. If we continue to go round in circles, we will lose the money. It will then take years to sort out. We must put first the people in need - the people we serve and whose trust we are bound to uphold.
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