News

Improvement proposed for stroke services

Further details about a proposal to establish three new ‘hyper acute’ stroke units in Kent and Medway have been announced today (Thursday 18 January 2018).  The proposed shortlist of potential options for the location of these units, which is still subject to final assurances and approval, is1:

  1. Darent Valley Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  2. Darent Valley Hospital, Maidstone Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  3. Maidstone Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  4. Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  5. Darent Valley Hospital, Tunbridge Wells Hospital and William Harvey Hospital

Unlike current services, these hyper acute stroke units would operate with a multi-disciplinary team of stroke specialists, providing expert care round the clock with consultants on the wards seven days a week. The new units will allow people to get the best possible care in the vital first few hours and days immediately after their stroke – saving lives and reducing disability. The units would care for all stroke patients across Kent and Medway and from some neighbouring communities, in the critical first 72 hours after a stroke. We don’t currently have any hyper acute stroke units working in this way in Kent and Medway, patients are currently cared for in general stroke units.  Each site would also have an acute stroke unit where people may go after the initial 72 hours for further care until they are ready to be discharged, and a transient ischaemic attack (TIA or ‘mini stroke’) clinic.

These proposals would mean significant changes to the urgent stroke care currently provided in six hospitals across Kent and Medway. The proposed changes would affect every hospital in our area, residents in every part of Kent and Medway, and some beyond our boundaries. The proposed three new hyper acute stroke units would ensure all residents get consistently high-quality hospital-based stroke care regardless of where they live or what time of day or night a stroke occurs. However, under these proposals urgent stroke services would not be available at the other three hospitals in Kent and Medway.

The proposed changes are focused on ensuring the best care and outcomes for people who have a stroke, meaning faster diagnosis and treatment, fewer deaths, and less disability. To make these proposed changes we would need to invest up to £40million in hospitals and recruiting more staff across the county, but we expect a reduction in costs over time, mainly due to better recovery for patients who wouldn’t then need as much long-term care, and shorter hospital stays.

A Joint Committee of the ten clinical commissioning groups in Kent, Medway, Bexley and High Weald Lewes Havens is meeting to discuss the shortlist on 31 January 2018.  The joint committee meeting is held in public and will take place from 13.00-16.00, in the Council Chamber at County Hall, Sessions House, Maidstone ME14 1XQ.  It is a meeting in public, but places are limited by the venue so if you would like to attend this meeting, please book your place and register in advance at https://strokejcccg.eventbrite.co.uk.  For those without access to the internet, places can be booked by calling the Joint Committee admin office on 01892 638331.

If the shortlist above is approved, a wide public consultation will begin in February on the future shape of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway. The consultation will provide further opportunity to help design the best stroke services and to continue to engage staff, stakeholders, patients and local communities in the issues important to them about stroke services.

When the consultation begins we will publish our consultation document. The consultation document will set out the reasons why we believe Kent and Medway needs three hyper acute stroke units and a range of potential options for where they could be located. It will also summarise the issues we have considered to select the shortlist – from travel times through to staffing issues and how long it would take to establish hyper acute stroke units at different hospitals across the area.

We recognise that people have concerns when hospital services change, but we strongly believe change is needed to improve care. These proposals represent a major investment in stroke services and a commitment to making consistently high-quality care available for all stroke patients, regardless of where you live or when a stroke happens.

We will update this information with further details of our formal public consultation once it starts, and how to get involved and share your views, if the required assurance processes are met, in early February.

Background to the stroke review

We started reviewing our stroke services in started 2015. We did this because whilst staff in our stroke services are working extremely hard to provide the best care that they can, we know that things would be better, for both patients and staff, if we developed our stroke services further. We want our stroke services to meet the latest national best practice standards so that patients get have the best chance of the best outcome after a stroke. These new ways of working have been introduced in other parts of the country and are bringing significant benefits to patients. In London, hyper acute stroke units have reduced deaths from stroke by nearly 100 a year.

There has been a detailed process to consider potential options for the future shape of hospital-based urgent stroke services. Over the course of the review we looked at:

  • a long list that considered different numbers of hyper acute stroke units
  • a medium list of possible three-site options
  • the shortlist of deliverable three-site potential options which is being announced today.

Our proposed shortlist has been through a rigorous process and takes account of other work, particularly in east Kent, around changes to acute hospital services.

Find out more about the stroke review here

Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway 18 January 2018
https://kentandmedway.nhs.uk/latest-news/improvement-proposed-stroke-services-kent-medway/

1 The order is not a ranking and we are not identifying a preferred option until we have fully and carefully considered all the evidence and data available

Clockhouse road closure

I & G Contractors Ltd working on behalf of SGN have planned gas mains replacement works in Clockhouse, Ashford.

Due to the nature of the works and the location of the gas main, Clockhouse will be temporarily closed from the junction of Brookfield Road. A signed diversion will be in place.

In consultation with Kent County Council, I&G Contractors will start work on Monday 26th February 2018 for approximately 2 weeks.

I&G Contractors would like to apologise for the disruption their work may cause and thank you in advance for your co-operation while they invest in the gas supply network in your area.

I & G Contractors Ltd 17 January 2017

Lower bus subsidy saving comes with 1% extra council tax.

Kent County Council (KCC) have announced that the saving proposed on bus subsidy will be reduced from £ 2.25 million to £ 0.45 million, however it has also been announced that KCC propose an extra 1% rise in the precept giving a total rise of 4.99% or 58.82 for a Band D property.

Since KCC published its budget proposals in October 2017:

  • the government has accepted the Kent and Medway bid to become a Business Rate Retention pilot scheme in 2018/19.
  • the provisional local government settlement for 2018/19 announced by the Secretary of State in the House of Commons included an increase in the amount authorities can raise in council tax by 1% without a referendum

Kent County Council 15 January 2018
https://kccmediahub.net/kcc-continues-protect-frontline-services745

The change brings the total rise in the Council Tax for a Band D property to £ 75.78 giving a total Council Tax of £ 1639.10.

Kent and Medway Fire Authority’s budget was also announced before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government raised the referendum threshold for Council Tax rises to 3% and may be reviewed.

The table shows the annual Council Tax for a Band D property

Council Tax 17/18 % Rise £ Rise  18/19
KCC 1,178.82 4.99% 58.82 1237.64
ABC 154.00 2.28% 3.50 157.50
FRA 73.35 2.00% 1.46 74.81
PCC 157.15 7.64% 12.00 169.15
Total 1563.32  4.85% 75.78 1639.10

We will update this post as more information becomes available

Posts relating to budget consultations:

KCC Budget Strategy 2018/19
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/17/kcc-budget-strategy-201819/

KMFRA Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/24/kmfra-safety-and-wellbeing-plan-and-budget-consultation/

ABC Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/12/30/abc-budget-consultation-2/

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2018/01/10/pcc-proposes-12-rise-to-boost-police-frontline/

Council Tax 2018/19

The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner is the last of the precepting authorities in Kent to announce their budget proposals for 2018/19.

We show the combined impact of proposed rises from Kent County Council, Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority, Ashford Borough Council and the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Kent County Council and Kent and Medway Fire Authority budgets were announced before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government raised the referendum threshold for Council Tax rises to 3% and may be reviewed.

The table shows the annual Council Tax for a Band D property

Council Tax 17/18 % Rise £ Rise  18/19
KCC 1,178.82 4% 47.16 1225.97
ABC 154.00 2.28% 3.50 157.50
FRA 73.35 2% 1.46 74.81
PCC 157.15 7.64% 12.00 169.15
Total 1563.32  4.10% 64.12 1627.43

We will update this post as more information becomes available

Posts relating to budget consultations:

KCC Budget Strategy 2018/19
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/17/kcc-budget-strategy-201819/

KMFRA Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/24/kmfra-safety-and-wellbeing-plan-and-budget-consultation/

ABC Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/12/30/abc-budget-consultation-2/

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2018/01/10/pcc-proposes-12-rise-to-boost-police-frontline/

PCC proposes £12 rise to boost police frontline

Boosting Kent’s frontline – up to 200 more Police Officers and 80 more staff

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner

Opens: 10 January 2018
Closes: 27 January 2018

Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner has today proposed a £12 rise in his precept to fund extra resources for Kent Police.

Matthew Scott writes:

“Over the past year, I have continued touring the county and speaking with local residents, community groups, businesses and charities to seek their views on Policing in Kent and Medway. I have spent time with the Police Officers, staff and volunteers serving on the frontline to hear their experiences too.

“There is no doubt that Policing remains under pressure. There are ever-increasing numbers of calls to respond to, many of which are more complex and a growing number of which are not criminal in nature – such as support for vulnerable people in mental health crisis. All of this comes whilst Britain’s threat level for international terrorism is severe.

“Despite all of this, Kent Police has been among the top-rated Forces in the country in independent inspections for efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy in 2016 and 2017. They have been deemed “Good” or “Outstanding” in every assessment, bar one. Police Officer numbers have risen since I was elected and PCSO numbers have also been protected. Antisocial behaviour is down 11%. There is a new cyber-crime team and the Volunteer Police Cadets programme is back. I’m investing more in services for victims of crime and together we have fixed the firearms licensing backlog.

“The Government has listened to the views of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and increased funding for counter terrorism by £50m and will be investing a further £130m in other national Policing schemes. In order to support local Policing, the Home Office has allowed PCCs to increase the council tax precept by £1 a month for an average household, which could raise up to £270m nationally. Together, this represents slightly more than the amount PCCs said we needed next year.

“Taking into consideration the views of residents, community groups, businesses, and the operational needs of Policing in Kent, I am pleased to be proposing the biggest recruitment drive for Kent Police for a considerable time.

“In laying out my proposal I am empowering the Chief Constable to recruit up to 200 additional Police Officers in the next year. These will go into boosting a number of areas, including rural and roads policing, local communities, fighting cyber-crime and providing greater public protection, and will take the total number of Police Officers in Kent to its highest level since 2012.

“In addition to this, I have listened to residents’ views about crime reporting, and so there will be a boost in the number of call handlers answering 999 and 101 calls, so that people can get help quicker and more information can be provided to the Police. This will be alongside the new online reporting service, which is available for certain issues for those who wish to use it. There will be over 80 new police staff roles that will cover this, as well as other areas of Policing.

“This will be funded in four ways:

  • I am asking residents to contribute the equivalent of an additional £1 per month from an average household towards the cost of Policing in Kent. This is not a request I am making lightly but is something I believe is necessary to keep Kent safe.
  • I have reviewed Kent Police’s proposals for over £9m of cost savings and believe that, as they will have a minimal impact on the frontline, they should be delivered. There should be no excuse for using extra council tax to prop up inefficient practices and where better value for money can be delivered, it should be. This will help mitigate the pressures of pay and inflation.
  • I am cutting the cost of my own office by £200,000 and re-investing this money in the frontline. I already provide extra money from my budget for Kent Police projects, such as the Volunteer Police Cadets and mental health workers in the Force Control Room.
  • I am authorising the use of a further £5m of Kent Police’s reserves over three years, should it be required, to support the recruitment drive.

“There will also be other opportunities to increase Police Officer numbers and improve services further. The Police Transformation Fund, worth £175m, has been made available by the Government for new projects that reform the way that Forces operate and I will encourage more bids to access some of this money. I will also continue to drive collaboration with police colleagues and other agencies to make best use of property and improve delivery.

“This is an ambitious proposal. It will mean that residents get something back for the tax that they pay and value for money in what is spent in their name. It boosts Policing in Kent in urban and rural areas in the fight against antisocial behaviour, organised crime, fraud and cyber-crime, domestic abuse and road traffic offences. Victims will get a better service when they have been subject to heinous acts and more criminals will be brought to justice.

“I hope that you will support this vital boost. Please email your thoughts by 27 January. The proposed precept rise will then go to the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel for its approval on 8 February.”

Doorstep criminals target residents following Storm Eleanor

Think before you BuyKent county Council Public Protection are warning Kent residents to beware of doorstep criminals. Following storm Eleanor criminals are attempting to convince people into unnecessary or overpriced work.Doorstep criminals may claim your roof tiles are loose,your chimney stack is dangerous or trees need to be felled due to damage.Accepting work from a doorstep criminal can result in paying much more than you intended for very poor, unnecessary and sometimes dangerous work.

If you require work done to your home get at least three quotes and never give a doorstep caller cash.
For a list of Kent County Council approved traders

Help keep your community safe 

Please look out for neighbours and report any suspicious doorstep callers to us.  

Report it
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact Citizens Advice consumer service

Kent County Council Public Protection 04 January 2018
https://us9.campaign-archive.com/?u=ce2871176f2cf0da723a750b1&id=9cc2ad93ee

 

ABC Budget Consultation

Budget Consultation 2018/19

Ashford Borough Council

Opens 29 December 2017
Closes 7 February 2018

At the last Ashford Borough Council cabinet meeting, members agreed a draft budget for the 2018-19 financial year, which begins on 1st April 2018.

The draft budget is presented to Council members at a time when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has just delivered his 2018 Autumn Budget to parliament. It is also set against the backdrop of the negotiations to leave the European Union, which continue to cause uncertainty.

Please read ABC’s draft budget summary document to help you take part in our budget consultation for the 2018-2019 financial year. We would value your feedback on our proposals.

2018-19_budget_consultation [pdf] 1295KB www.ashford.gov.uk/media/5384/2018-19_budget_consultation.pdf

The budget contains a large amount of information, so we felt it might be beneficial to outline the key points below:

Council tax

It is proposed that Ashford Borough Council increases its element of council tax by £3.50 per year for the average band D property, increasing the amount payable to Ashford Borough Council from £154 to £157.50 per year– please note this is based on the Ashford element of council tax only and will be adjusted to reflect your property band.

For context, even if all the other local authorities in Kent froze their council tax Ashford would still be setting the lowest council tax in Kent.

The council proposes to increase its element of council tax by £3.50 (which equates to 2.28%) as government allows councils to increase their council tax by 2% or £5, whichever is greater. So, although ours is proposed to increase by 2.28%, this is within agreed parameters.

The council’s Corporate Plan is focused on the delivery of business and housing growth as well as income generation from commercial activities – such as the £42m Elwick Place project, which is on budget and on schedule. The commercial approach needs time to mature and so for now we propose to increase council tax, however the future ambition of the council is to do so by a smaller amount every year. For example, last year the council raised council tax by £4. This year it proposes to do so by £3.50.

Ashford will still set the lowest council tax in Kent. (more…)

Healthier You for New Year

Is your New Year’s Resolution about a healthier lifestyle?

Are you planning to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking?

Before signing up for that expensive diet plan or gym membership call at the One You shop in Park Mall for free advice and support.

ONE YOU delivers a variety of free health services, support and advice including:

  • Support for quitting smoking
  • Healthy weight management for adults and children
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Support and advice on a range of lifestyle issues

With the right support and motivation you can make small changes to improve your health right away and double your chances of staying healthy as you get older.

Offering a friendly and unintimidating environment, people visit ONE YOU to ask questions and take advantage of the free health services on offer. You can drop in unannounced or arrange a scheduled appointment.

You can also get advice online at https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou

Cancelling a subscription or gym membership

If you do decide to try a diet plan or gym membership check the terms and conditions before signing and know your rights on cancelling payments:

Stopping a future payment on your debit or credit card
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/banking/stopping-a-future-payment-on-your-debit-or-credit-card/

Cancelling a gym membership
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/changed-your-mind/cancelling-a-gym-membership/

Can you return unwanted gifts?

Legally you have the right to return goods that are faulty or mis-described but you don’t have the right to return unwanted goods.  Ask about the returns policy 
When buying gifts this Christmas ask the seller about their returns policy before you pay. Some sellers may have specific conditions before they will accept goods back like returning goods within a set time period, in their original container or with the tags and labels attached.

Not all sellers will offer a refund some may only offer an exchange or store credit.

Make sure you’re happy with the sellers return policy before you buy.

Your rights explained
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer

Kent County Council 15 December 2017
http://mailchi.mp/bab4ab365891/how-to-spot-fake-electrical-goods-puppy-buying-tips-and-more