Canterbury to carry out all East Kent high-risk ops

Kent and Canterbury Hospital Image copyright East Kent Hospitals University Trust
Image caption High risk and emergency surgery will only be done in Canterbury, the trust said

High risk and emergency general surgery is to be moved from two hospitals in Kent because of a lack of surgeons, an NHS trust has said.

All such operations for East Kent will be done at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in Canterbury from May.

East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust also runs the William Harvey in Ashford and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (QEQM) in Margate.

It said it struggled to recruit enough surgical staff for more centres.

All other forms of surgery are unaffected, as are Accident and Emergency and the interim trauma unit.

Day surgery and low risk general surgery will continue at the William Harvey and QEQM.

Locum staff

The trust said the decision was an "interim measure" to avert a serious clinical risk caused by insufficient gastro-intestinal surgeons.

It would not be able to provide round-the-clock emergency cover in more than one centre.

"This has come about because of the increasing sub-specialisation of surgery, the lack of availability of surgeons with skills that are essential to managing high risk and emergency general surgery and the difficulty recruiting both permanent and locum medical staff," said medical director Dr Paul Stevens.

"This is an interim decision being taken to ensure high risk and emergency general surgery are delivered in the safest possible way.

"This decision will allow us to concentrate our staff resources and ensure the provision of high quality care for all our patients."

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