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NHS in east Kent unveils plan to ease pressure on services over winter months - including hiring 10 doctors for hospital A&Es

PUBLISHED: 13:56 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:56 27 September 2017

Improvements are being made ahead of winter

Improvements are being made ahead of winter

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It is hoped a string of improvements will ensure services are not overwhelmed

The NHS in east Kent has begun a 12-month plan for improvement in emergency care - part of which is designed to ensure there is no crisis during the busy winter months.

Among the key elements will be cutting down on overnight stays in hospital, mental health teams on call in A&E departments around the clock, and identifying frail or at risk patients early to help them avoid hospital care.

It has also been confirmed that East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, which recently saw it CEO Matthew Kershaw quit, has hired 10 new emergency doctors to help ease pressure the A&E departments of Ashford and Margate hospitals.

Simon Perks is accountable officer for NHS Ashford and NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCGs.

He explained: “Ensuring patients can access the care they need in the community, seeing patients more quickly in hospital emergency departments and improving the experience for patients is the priority for the NHS in east Kent.

“We are focusing on ensuring that the entire local NHS is caring for patients in the right place at the right time, whether that’s in a hospital bed, in a community setting or at home.”

East Kent Hospitals acting chief executive Liz Shutler said: “Patients attending the emergency departments are assessed soon after arriving and critically ill patients are prioritised and treated quickly. However, this means that people attending with non-life threatening illnesses and injuries can wait for a long time and this is not the standard we want for any of our patients.

“We are carefully monitoring our services to ensure that patients are receiving safe standards of care. A wide range of doctors, nurses, therapists and other clinical staff make up the teams in our emergency departments and are working extremely hard to care for patients but it is challenging as we are still covering vacant posts with temporary staff.

“We have been successful in a bid for £800,000 to help make the departments at Ashford and Margate hospitals fit for purpose. This refurbishment work to increase the space available and provide a better environment for sick or injured patients, has begun and will be completed in October.

“We are continuing to work hard recruit staff and have recently recruited 10 permanent emergency doctors that are joining East Kent Hospitals in the next two months.

“Every member of staff is working extremely hard to care for patients, and improving standards for emergency patients is our top priority.”

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