Be heard! Add your voice to health and care changes in east Kent.

The NHS across England is changing, including here in Thanet. So a new drive to get people involved in shaping their local services has been launched today. Across Thanet, people are being encouraged to join Thanet Health Network so that they can have a say in how hospitals, family doctors, social care workers and community nurses work together to look after the people who need care and keep others healthy and well.

Some of our local services were designed to meet the needs of people in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Now they need updating for 2020 and beyond. Local NHS doctors and leaders are getting together over the coming months to talk about what needs to change and share their current thinking about ways to make that happen. As well as new evidence about the best way to treat certain conditions and new national standards to meet, there are challenges in funding, an ageing workforce due to retire with not enough specialists to fill vacancies and the need to join up health and social care services more effectively. But new ways of delivering health and care services need to be designed with patients and local people. Have a voice and get involved. Now is the time to be heard.

There are a number of ways in which you can get involved in the development of plans and services. Sign up to Thanet Health Network and/or get involved with Healthwatch Kent. Look out for opportunities to attend events organised by local NHS organisations. Read, watch and listen to information about the challenges the NHS is facing locally. Follow the local NHS on social media. Get involved.

Current East Kent Strategy Patient and Public Engagement Group Chairman Clive Hart said:

“The NHS is facing big challenges and we need to move with the times and find newer and better ways of working. People in East Kent need to access care that best meets their needs but that is also affordable and deliverable by our local NHS for the long-term. We have a vibrant Health Network in Thanet, which plays a big part in feeding back on plans to local decision-makers. We need to have a broad conversation about priorities for east Kent. Join our group, I look forward to welcoming many more of you to give our area the strong representation it deserves.”

Dr Sarah Phillips, the Chair of the East Kent Strategy Board, which is currently looking at how health and care services are designed and delivered, said:

“As a GP, I can tell you that we’re really keen to hear the views of patients and the public across the whole of east Kent. This will build on a range of conversations that have taken place to look at how care could be delivered in different ways. Without your input we can’t transform things for the better. Please join your local network and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can change health and care services to best meet your needs.”

If you want to find out more or get involved in local community groups to talk about local health and care services please contact:

http://www.thanetccg.nhs.uk/health-network and/or www.healthwatchkent.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Some of the work that people have been involved in around recent changes includes:

A detailed review of stroke services which is considering how best to deliver life-saving care for the future. A mental health survey to look at people’s priorities for mental health services in east Kent. The development of Patient Charter setting the standards for the patient transport service, which will be starting on 1 July 2016.


Clive Hart