I really care about getting the maximum possible health services provided close to home. We've come a long way together. A new hospital has been built at Dover. While the future of Deal Hospital has been secured. This has made a massive difference to people's lives.
Things are a far cry from how they used to be – we all remember how Buckland Hospital was decimated over a decade under the last Labour Government. Services were withdrawn and wards axed one by one. While Deal Hospital was left teetering on the edge.
What are Charlie's priorities going forward?
Everyone knows we need more doctors and nurses in East Kent. So the successful campaign for a £30 million East Kent medical school is a real boost. Around £200 million is going towards upgrading East Kent A&E departments.
A new £2.3 million GP hub has just opened. Doctors and nurses are working out of ten rooms at both Buckland and Deal hospitals, seven days a week. So more people can be treated locally.
Deal Hospital staff numbers are up a fifth.
Twice as many clinics are now operating at Buckland than when the £24 million facility opened.
We're getting more healthcare provided locally. In the future I want to see more eye treatment services in Dover – along with more COPD, respiratory and rehab services at Deal.
Caring for Clare
Clare suffers from a rare disease called neuro-Behcet's Syndrome that has left her blind, epileptic and wheelchair-bound. She was receiving NHS Continuous Care Funding, until a review found she "no longer meets the criteria". Charlie quickly got that decision reversed so Clare and her parents know that her care needs are secure.
Charlie also took Clare's case to Parliament, calling on Ministers to make sure people like Clare would always be looked after. As a result, Health Ministers are introducing measures to ensure there will be no gap between NHS and local authority social care responsibilities. Charlie says that putting things right and looking after people is the best thing about being a Member of Parliament.
The Campaign for a New Hospital
Charlie fought hard for a new hospital for Dover. The town's much loved Buckland hospital was decimated over the decade before 2010. Dover's then-Labour MP pledged time and again to protect the hospital. Yet, he stood by powerless as wards were axed one by one.
Charlie joined marches, spoke at rallies and organised packed public meetings. Time and again, Charlie made the case for a fairer share of healthcare.
With the backing of Dover hospital campaigners, Charlie took the community's case to the local hospital health chiefs. He made the case for a modern hospital that was fit for purpose and where most simple tests and treatments could be done. This would mean most people could get hospital services done locally rather than far away.
In December 2010, the hospital health chiefs finally caved in and agreed plans for a new Dover hospital. Under the plans the new hospital would have outpatient appointments, minor surgery in a procedures suite, therapy services, a day hospital and diagnostic services including mobile MRI and CT services.
Success: New Dover Hospital – Opened June 2015
The brand new, state of the art Dover Hospital opened on the Coombe Valley Road in June 2015. It shows how far we've come in getting a fairer share of healthcare for our community.
The new £22 million hospital will provide a full range of services, including an x-ray, minor injuries, physiotherapy and a children's assessment centre. It will be a one stop shop for local healthcare treatment, dealing with consultation, treatment and diagnostics. The new Hospital will deal with around 60,000 outpatient services every year. This means fewer long journeys needed to big faraway hospitals like Ashford and Margate.
Deal Hospital Saved
In 2006, before Charlie was elected, it was agreed to axe outpatient services at Deal Hospital. The hospital was left teetering on the edge and local people feared the hospital might close altogether.
Charlie launched a campaign with Deal residents to save the hospital. A massive survey and packed public meetings ensured NHS chiefs pledged not to close the hospital. Charlie is passionate about community hospitals like Deal's and their potential to boost locally-based health services and speed rehabilitation and recovery. Since October 2014, the Minor Injuries Unit at Deal Hospital has had its hours extended to 8pm (daily) to increase access.
Deal Hospital – Health and Social Care Hub
Charlie has long called for Deal Hospital to be used as a base for more local health services. Health chiefs now plan to develop a new 'Health and Social Care Hub' at Deal Hospital. These new plans will not only safeguard the hospital - they will give it a greater role. The plans are now for a range services at Deal Hospital, including cardiology, ENT and rehabilitation.
The focus is on improving care for elderly people in particular, by Deal Hospital working with local elderly charities and providing vital local services such as dementia care, carers' support and meal delivery. The Deal hub will also join up health and social care in our community. It will include social services and care co-ordination to make our health and social care systems work better together. It will boost step-down care after illness and injury and more people will be able to get better near where they live.
Now Charlie is campaigning for five star healthcare in Dover and Deal. In Dover, he wants to see care beds based in the Hospital. Not just the draughty wards of old, but care and recovery suites so people can get better in our community.
In Deal, Charlie wants to build on the Health and Social Care Hub and secure even more services at the Hospital. He also wants to use the new Deal Hub for a greater focus on mental health and more treatment services.