Monday, 12 March 2012

COUNTY-WIDE DECLINE IN HEALTH CARE

Kent Green Party has been investigating the current state of Health care in Kent and Medway, including obtaining confidential advice particularly from health care professionals. A clear decline is evident. Dr Hazel Dawe, Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party comments:

“Kent needs more health workers and enlarged health services as our population is growing, ageing and suffering from more long-term health problems(1).

“The Government says its very controversial Health and Social Care Bill will increase the range of services, but ‘range’ does not mean the same as ‘adequate.’ The Bill increases competition between providers and this will undermine NHS services even further. The Bill also increases the ease of rationing, restricting access even further.

Access to health care is diminishing and energy efficiency is also under-resourced. Examples include:

· Serious problems in bus services and access to hospitals in the Sevenoaks area (2) and in relation to services at the new but far too small Pembury Hospital (3);

· Dentists are not taking on new NHS patients in Thanet or Faversham;

· - Hours and staffing in genitourinary medicine and in family planning clinic services have been reduced in the West Kent area;

· Radical reductions in access to Accident and Emergency services and maternity care in East Kent(4);

· An absence of adequate resources for strategies to reduce energy wastage through insulation, and to increase the use of renewable technologies, as part of keeping long-term costs down(5);

· A new private hospital being built in Maidstone is
is expected to attract NHS patients putting even more pressure on Maidstone Hospital to downgrade further(6).

· Government refusal to publish the NHS Risk Register which means the public do not have all the information they need to assess whether future Health and Social Care policies will be adequate(7).”

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FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party, on 01732 355185 or 079444 71083. Contact address as above. Promoted by H.Dawe and published by Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. Monthly free ezine KENT GREEN NEWS available for subscription at www.kentgreenparty.org

Notes:

1. 1. Kent will see the following increases in the coming years: A 4% increase in population by 2015; A rapidly increasing ageing population with more older people in a caring role (e.g. for 65-84 age group: 15% increase in west Kent, 18% in Medway and 17% in eastern and coastal Kent); Increase in number of individuals with long term conditions; Historical year-on-year growth in use of secondary, tertiary and specialist acute services outstripping predictions of demand. Kent and Medway Public Health Observatory: http://www.kmpho.nhs.uk/jsna/long-term-conditions/

2. FROM: a participant in Sevenoaks District Seniors Action Forum;

3. http://www.patientopinion.org.uk/services/rwf01 & Pembury Hospital warned over patient care: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-17135034

4. Particularly with reference to Ashford and Thanet, see for example: http://www.chek.org.uk/consultation-2.html#kch & http://www.nct.org.uk/sites/default/files/related_documents/Full%20ECK%20PCT%20Maternity%20Consultation_0.pdf & http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Buckland-Hospital-Dover-lose-maternity-facilities/story-13297546-detail/story.html

5. NHS carbon dioxide emissions are currently going down, for the first time, but investment in new medical technologies may undermine this achievement unless greater energy efficiency and more use of renewable energy is also achieved.

6. http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent_messenger/news/2011/november/22/financial_deadline_looms_for_n.aspx

7. 7. Office of Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion: 09 march 2012: ‘Government must now release NHS risk register.'



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