On Monday 7th February, I joined the Prime Minister and the Chancellor on a visit to Maidstone Hospital’s oncology centre and chemotherapy day unit. Testament to the brilliant work of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) are the PM’s words - “I want the whole country to be able to meet these standards.”
It is a daunting reality that one in two of us will face cancer diagnosis at least once in our lifetimes. However, I take comfort in knowing that people across Maidstone and the Weald have access to an NHS trust that is at the top of the class in cancer treatment.
In the last three years, MTW have invested over £10m in new buildings and provided 12 additional cancer consultants for specialist care. Consultants are also now available 7 days a week. MTW has now met the national standard for treating cancer patients within 62 days for 29 months in a row, standing out as one of the most efficient in the country.
And it’s not just cancer treatment where exemplary patient care is being recognised. Maidstone Hospital’s acute stroke unit team have been awarded the highest performance rating by the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP). This ultimately means that patients are receiving higher quality care, faster. An increase in the number of acute beds on the stroke unit from 22 to 46, also means stroke patients are being admitted and treated faster than ever before.
Before the Chancellor departed, MTW CEO Miles Scott and I took the opportunity to lobby him for a grant to build a new ‘barn theatre block’. The £31.3m facility will expand the hospital’s orthopaedic surgical capacity and consist of four state-of-the-art operating theatres, a 20-bed inpatient ward and a 16-bed day case ward. The project has received approval from the Trust and is awaiting NHS England approval. If it proceeds this project will be a huge boost for the 1.9 million people across Kent, Medway and East Sussex who rely on MTW hospitals.
As we emerge from the pandemic, I am pleased that MTW are leading the way in tackling the backlog that has arisen after months of lockdown. I am also greatly encouraged about future health services for the people of Maidstone & The Weald and I applaud everyone in the MTW NHS Trust for their sterling efforts.