Letter to East Kent Mercury

Letter to East Kent Mercury 18th July 2022

Dear Editor

Dover & Deal Liberal Democrats are astounded at the behaviour of the NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) in completely disregarding the views of local people regarding the cessation of blood tests at Victoria Hospital, Deal.

The ICB never consulted anyone about the closure of the Phlebotomy Department and closed it with just two weeks’ notice. When large number of Deal residents and beyond began to complain, a cross party initiative was created. A petition was circulated, and many thousands of people signed it. Many others wrote to the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), there was a rally and march through Deal High Street, a torchlight vigil, our MP got involved. Yet this has all gone unheeded by the (ICB).


Indeed, Dover & Deal Lib Dems has twice written to the CEO of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, requesting further information, but have never even received an acknowledgement or our letters.

The NHS is paid for by taxpayers and was created to provide universal and free benefits to all those in need. It now seems that our ICB is taking matters into its own hands regardless of what local people and taxpayers say, or indeed what Kent County Council, Dover District Council or our MP say!

But it’s not just the Phlebotomy Department, Dover & Deal Lib Dems have also been raising concerns since November 2021 that the Diabetic Eye Screening Unit has also been closed and that it is now recommended that an appointment be made before attending the Minor Injuries Unit. The question is what service will be next?

With a growing population in Deal, surgeries having to accept new patients, the pool of working GPs reducing daily and an area where we have a significant proportion of over 65s who need these services and find it difficult to travel to hospitals further afield, this is a highly short-sighted decision. Riding rough-shod over local people’s view is also unacceptable.

It seems likely that our precious Victoria Hospital is going to suffer a death by a thousand cuts. The grim truth is once it is gone it is gone and then how will residents access the vital NHS services to which they are entitled? 

Yours faithfully

Penelope James
Dover & Deal Liberal Democrats

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