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Weekly launches campaign to open new health centre on patch

An “ambitious” bid has been launched by a weekly newspaper to get a walk-in clinic opened on its patch.

The Kent Messenger has begun its campaign to get a new health centre for Maidstone, in order to ease pressure on the town’s over-stretched emergency services.

Maidstone, which has a population of 162,000, currently has no walk-in health centre or minor injuries unit.

An unprecedented demand on Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s emergency services has seen 400 elected operations cancelled or transferred to the private sector since January.


The Messenger’s Access All Areas campaign s being led by senior reporter Claire McWethy who has already secured the support of MP Helen Whately and comes as the NHS reviews health care provision across Kent.

As part of the campaign, an online petition has been launched calling for NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group to open a centre.

Editor Denise Eaton said: “It seems illogical to advise people to use alternatives to A&E in Maidstone when there are very few options available, especially out-of-hours.

“An area the size of Maidstone – the county town of Kent – should have its own walk-in clinic or minor injuries unit to offload some of the strain on our emergency services which, as our research has found, is also impacting elective surgery.

“The existing health model is not sufficient for the ever-expanding community – Maidstone is expecting a further 18,560 homes by 2031 – and it’s going to take a lot of perseverance, pressure and publicity on our part to see this through.”