Consultation on specialised vascular services in Kent and Medway
Update on the consultation report
A public consultation was held earlier this year regarding a proposal to create a single centre for inpatient vascular surgery in Kent and Medway, bringing together the inpatient services at Kent and Canterbury and Medway Maritime hospitals.
This consultation, which was run by NHS England specialised commissioning and NHS Kent and Medway CCG (working with Healthwatch and the acute trusts in east Kent, Medway and Maidstone), was open for six weeks and ended on Tuesday, 15 March 2022. You can read the consultation report on the future of vascular services in Kent and Medway here and its appendices here.
The feedback from the public consultation showed a clear mandate for change and broad support for the establishment of a single vascular inpatient centre at Kent and Canterbury Hospital in Canterbury.
The findings from the consultation informed a Decision Making Business Case which was then approved by all relevant NHS organisations in Kent and Medway. It was endorsed by the Kent and Medway Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) on Tuesday 6 December 2022. You will find the JHOSC paper here.
This means that all vascular surgery requiring a stay in hospital will move from Medway Maritime Hospital to Kent and Canterbury Hospital (in a phased way) by April 2023.
Outpatient appointments and diagnostic tests will continue at Medway Maritime Hospital as well as hospitals in Ashford, Canterbury, Margate, and Maidstone. Day surgery will also continue both at Medway Maritime Hospital and at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
During February and March 2022 NHS England South East region and Kent and Medway CCG asked patients and the public for their views on medium-term proposals for specialised vascular services in East Kent, Medway and the Maidstone catchment of West Kent.
Vascular services reconstruct, unblock or bypass arteries and are often one-off specialist procedures to reduce the risk of sudden death or amputation and prevent stroke.
Currently specialised vascular services in East Kent, Medway and the Maidstone catchment of West Kent are delivered from two surgical centres – Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham and the Kent and Canterbury Hospital at Canterbury.
The proposals would result in all specialised vascular surgery that requires an overnight hospital stay being transferred from Medway Maritime Hospital to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, which would potentially affect up to 265 patients a year.
In January 2020 emergency surgery was temporarily transferred from Medway Maritime Hospital to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital to ensure safe services 24 hours a day seven days a week. These proposals will formalise the move of emergency surgery and will also see the remaining complex surgery which still takes place at Medway Maritime Hospital relocating to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital to create an Inpatient Vascular Centre. Both hospitals will continue to provide day surgery, interventional radiology and rehabilitation after surgery.
As an inpatient vascular centre, the Kent and Canterbury hospital would have:
- a new specialist operating theatre with a better range of facilities and equipment reducing the need for open surgery, and in turn reducing the length of stay in hospital and swifter recovery time
- a dedicated vascular ward with extra beds for emergency patients 24 hours a day
- vascular nurse specialists – able to support the transfer of patients back to their local hospital/home
- out of hours care which includes evenings and weekends, including on call vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists
In addition, doctors, nurses and other professionals from each of the hospitals providing vascular services would work together as one team across east Kent, Medway and Maidstone providing the majority of care such as clinics and investigations for patients at their nearest hospital but with specialist surgery requiring a hospital stay provided at one specialist centre rather than two.
These are medium-term proposals which would be in place until a decision is made about how care across east Kent’s hospitals is organised following future consultation about the east Kent Transformation plan.
The majority of patients would continue to have diagnostics and outpatient appointments in local hospitals at:
- William Harvey Hospital in Ashford
- The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate
- Maidstone Hospital
- Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham
- Kent and Canterbury Hospital
Medway Maritime Hospital would become an Enhanced Network Hospital providing day surgery, interventional radiology and rehabilitation. Clinics will also be available at other local hospitals including Dover and Sheppey to reduce the need to travel.
There are three main reasons for the recommended medium-term change to services set out as part of the consultation. The move will:
- Ensure the best outcomes and chances of survival for patients based on national best practice agreed by experts
- Ensure we have more specialists available 24/7 with the right specialist skills, equipment and infrastructure
- Meet national standards for vascular surgery
No changes are proposed for patients from North Kent or patients whose local hospital is Tonbridge Wells Hospital who currently travel to London for treatment.
Four events in the local community will also be taking place for members of the public and patients to attend. These will provide an opportunity for clinical leaders to explain the proposals. Details of these events are set out below should you be interested.
Watch this video to find out more about our proposal to improve the treatment of vascular disease by creating medium term center of excellence for vascular surgery at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.