Health Minister opens treatment centre in Kent

Today saw the official opening of the Mid Kent NHS Treatment Centre, with a visit by the Health Minister, Andy Burnham.

Today saw the official opening of the Mid Kent NHS Treatment Centre, with a visit by the Health Minister, Andy Burnham.

Opening the new centre, Health Minister Andy Burnham said: “I am very pleased to open this new facility. This partnership is good news for NHS patients in Kent and means that they can benefit from additional high quality services, with the assurance that treatment will remain free at the point of use.

The extra facilities that this agreement will provide for NHS patients brings us another step closer to delivering our commitment that no-one will wait more than 18 weeks for an operation by 2008.”

The Mid Kent NHS Treatment Centre is situated within Maidstone Hospital, and is being run under a five-year contract by Partnership Health Group (PHG) on behalf of the NHS. PHG work in conjunction with the West Kent Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Hospitals Trust.

Steve Phoenix, Chief Executive of West Kent PCT said: "This new treatment centre has helped to increase capacity and drive down waiting times for some of West Kent's patients who are in most urgent need of treatment."

The centre houses a brand new dedicated surgical facility, and a purpose-built endoscopy unit, and is already carrying out over 100 surgical and endoscopy procedures each week. In addition, it provides up to 160 chemotherapy treatments to Kent patients each week. The Centre will provide more than 11,000 episodes of patient care each year.

Centre Manager, Jane Higgins said: “This new unit has enabled us to greatly improve the quality of service to patients – they can be treated in pleasant relaxed surroundings, with the best equipment and facilities available, whilst in the care of dedicated professionals”.

The centre is a dedicated same-day procedure centre with facilities which include a pre-assessment department, reception, and chemotherapy and endoscopy suites. There are two fully-equipped operating theatres and twenty same-day surgery beds, with an additional two endoscopy procedure suites.

Grant Rex, Managing Director of Partnership Health Group, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Hospitals Trust, the West Kent PCT, and the local community to improve the quality of service to NHS patients in the region.”

Rose Gibb, Chief Executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said: “This partnership approach has provided another first-class healthcare facility for the benefit of patients at Maidstone Hospital.”

The hospital has seen over £70m in service improvements in the last three years and has just opened a new £6m Pathology, Pharmacy and Pre-assessment unit for patients next door to the new Treatment Centre.

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