This month the NHS announced that it wants to hear from residents in Dartford about the possibility of creating a new Urgent Treatment Centre at Darent Valley Hospital.
Over the past few years, NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation which plans, buys and monitors numerous healthcare services for the area, has been reviewing its services with a view to making changes.
The idea is to create an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) which would bring together a number of current services. At the moment there is a Walk-in Centre in Northfleet, which provides urgent GP appointments to people from across Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, a Minor Injuries Unit at Gravesham Community Hospital and a GP out of hours service.
Many people have said they are sometimes confused about where they should go to access the right medical care and so the CCG is looking at creating one centre which would treat minor illnesses and injuries for all ages.
Here in Dartford we are lucky to have a good A&E Department at Darent Valley Hospital, but as our local population grows, so too does the pressure on our NHS services.
As part of this review there is now an opportunity to look at bringing all the services of this Urgent Treatment Centre together at Darent Valley Hospital.
The other possibility under consideration is locating a UTC at Gravesham Community Hospital and relocating the Walk-in Centre alongside the Minor Injuries Unit.
As with all changes in healthcare, the NHS wants to hear from local people to understand where they think the best location for services would be.
These plans are in the very early stages, but in a bid to ensure people get their views across a survey has been launched. I would urge everyone to have their say and fill in the survey.
If you would like to take part in the survey, please visit https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/urgentcaredgs