A heart attack survivor who was rushed to the urgent care centre in Canterbury has branded its closure a “disaster”.
Staff at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital were told last month that the centre – which treats patients with acute medical illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes – is likely to close this spring.
The speculation has worried former Kent and Canterbury patient Raymond Nye, 79, who had to use the acute ward when he suffered a heart attack four years ago.
‘I could have been sitting up with the angels’
The Seasalter resident has warned that if the urgent care centre were to be closed when he fell ill, he could be “sitting up with the angels” due to the distance of the nearest emergency department.
Mr Nye said: “I’m 79-years-old now, which means I’m no spring chicken. When you have an emergency you don’t expect to be travelling half way round the country.
“It took me 15 minutes to get to Canterbury by ambulance, where it would take at least 30 minutes to get to Ashford.
My face hurt, my arms hurt and I had pins and needles. I thought to myself this isn’t right so I turned round to go back home.
“I phoned my GP saying I had severe pains in my neck, arms and face to which he told me to ring 999 immediately.
“In less than 10 minutes there were paramedics here and they connected me up to all these machines.
“They told me I had suffered a heart attack and the next thing I knew I was in hospital.”
Mr Nye spent the next week in Kent and Canterbury hospital following the sudden emergency, where he was moved from the urgent care centre to the Taylor ward.
37 minutes to get to William Harvey
He added that the only way to get to the William Harvey Hospital from Seasalter would mean travelling down single lane roads which would be “dangerous” at seed. He added that the journey to Ashford would take 37 minutes and just under 19 miles.
More than 2,300 people have signed a petition urging the centre not to close, although hospital bosses have not officially confirmed whether they are shutting the unit.
A spokesman for the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have a duty to ensure that hospital services are safe, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are safe now, but finding enough permanent doctors to work at Kent & Canterbury Hospital is difficult and we are relying heavily on locum doctors.
“If we reached a point where there were not enough doctors to look after patients safely, we would need to make temporary changes to some of the services we provide, with some patients needing to be seen at Ashford and Margate hospitals instead.
“Keeping patients safe is our priority, so we will only do this if it is the safest thing to do for our patients.”
CHEK Concern for Health in East Kent was first established in 1996 to save the Acute Hospitals in East Kent from being down graded, especially the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. We succeeded at that time in saving the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, but it was a long expensive battle.
Now in 2017 it seems that we need to fight all over again. If we lose the Kent and Canterbury or another of our Hospitals we fear for the safety and quality of the Health services patients in East Kent will receive.
We need to fight and need money for leaflets other communication and for legal advice.
We are campaigning for a new hospital with much-needed mental Health beds social care facilities and a new Medical school to train Doctors. This coupled with the Medical training of other Health care professionals in our universities in Canterbury will make sure we can give the best health care to our patients here in East Kent
The Kent and Canterbury has Kept me alive through my 36 years of being a cancer patient, and I want to give something back to those brilliant staff who looked after me so other patients will benefit.
A day of booking up hotels I have meetings and speech’s that warrant me staying away from home so we can mix a couple of days sight-seeing as well.
Ray left it all to me so I have to keep making sure I have all the details right I would never live it down if I slipped up.
The dog has to go into the kennels and the is almost as dear as our hotel.
I had fun anyway.
Julie Sapey’s B & B’s Charity Ball on 12 May at Sprowston Manor. Julie is the daughter of one of our patients who attends our Norwich group Julie’s mum was also diagnosed with mesothelioma from washing her husbands clothes.
This charity ball is raising funds for the Norfolk & Norwich Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma support group and supporting Priscilla Bacon Lodge Support Group, it is being held at the beautiful Sprowston Manor only a few miles away from central Norwich The ball has been running for several years now and has grown from strength to strength. Brian Wallis Mesothelioma UK Ambassador will also be attending.
Then on the Tuesday I will go to the Norwich group support meets at the Offices of Ashtons Legal so it is a busy weekend but we have built-in time to sightsee Norwich. We haven’t been there for years.
All that is in May and I have April to get through yet I will have lots to blog about