Canterbury & Coastal Liberal Democrats’ vice chair Alex Lister has today led voices from across the community calling for the government to bring forward investment into east Kent.

A consultation into the reorganisation of acute health services in east Kent has been pushed back to at least the autumn as the government struggles to cope with the pandemic. The public consultation is due to present two options. The first is to expand the William Harvey in Ashford and the second is to build a new state-of-the-art hospital in Canterbury.

Alex Lister, who is also vice chair of the health campaign group CHEK, and a publicly elected governor for the East Kent Hospitals trust, has spent many years at the forefront of Canterbury’s fight for improved healthcare.

Alex said: “it is hugely disappointing that the consultation has once again been kicked into the long grass.

“The consultation was due to take place back in 2017 but has been repeatedly put back. This government’s dither and delay is costing our local health service vast sums in wasted money spent on propping up infrastructure which is outdated and desperately in need of investment.

“Once renowned as a top place for medical staff to train, the trust has been hit by a series of misfortunate events, meaning it’s no longer as attractive a place to work. This has caused the trust management to become over-reliant on agency staff who cost more and prevent money being spent on what it should be spent on – treating patients.

“This vicious cycle could end if the government could just make a decision and bring forward the consultation.

“As lead hospital governor I am calling on the government to release the funds and invest in the wellbeing of the people of Kent.

“As a long-time health campaigner and community activist, I believe a new hospital in Canterbury is the only viable solution. It isn’t fair to make Thanet residents travel over an hour to get to Ashford. Canterbury is in the centre of east Kent and is easily accessible by car, train and bus.

“Our new medical school will soon start to provide the doctors and nurses of the future, and I want to make sure they stay in Kent. A brand-new hospital in Canterbury will ensure all residents of east Kent have equal access to the healthcare facilities they deserve.

“When the consultation eventually gets here, I hope all residents will support Option 2, the new hospital for Canterbury.”

Posted by Alex Lister

Alex grew up in Canterbury. He is a former lead governor of the East Kent Hospitals Trust, and a local business owner.

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