Residents in Westerham and Edenbridge are one step closer to having local care hubs, where they would potentially be able to access health, care, well-being and council services, following a decision by the Governing Body of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Governing Body members agreed to explore establishing three ‘main hubs’ in Maidstone, Tonbridge and the Sevenoaks areas, and the possibility of two further ‘mini-hubs’ in the Weald of Kent and Aylesford areas.
The idea of the proposed hubs is to give patients with complex health problems a more holistic and joined-up approach to their care, that takes account of all their different needs. In summary, the hubs could:
Provide prevention, physical health, mental health, social care, well-being and council services, as well as offering a focus point for the community and giving patients the opportunity to be seen, where appropriate, by a team of professionals and advisors – all on the same day.
Potentially offer council services, such as housing and benefits advice; voluntary services; community groups; support for carers and more.
Provide health services including: diagnostic testing – such as blood tests, X-rays and ultrasound; treatment for minor injuries; falls service; diabetes; podiatry and musculoskeletal services, as well as outpatient appointments.
The decision, to progress the possible development of local care hubs, follows extensive feedback from the public, who responded to a survey, attended public meetings and gave their views at roadshows and community meetings.
During the next phase of the project, NHS West Kent CCG will assess potential sites for hubs in the general localities set out in the strategic case. It will look at how services in them would need to work together to provide maximum benefits to patients, supported by really good technology and delivering value for money.
Dr Bob Bowes, Chairman of NHS West Kent CCG, said:“As the population continues to grow and people are living longer, local health and care services need to change.
“People have told us that, currently, services for frail people and those with complex health and care problems are fragmented, and finding the right service can be difficult, time-consuming and frustrating.
“As well as exploring possible locations, we will be looking in further detail at how hubs could best support co-ordinated and holistic care so people get the services they need in one place.
“This would not only make it easier for people to get the treatment and advice they need, but would also allow people to spend less time travelling to and from appointments.”