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NHS hospital books hotel rooms for cancer patients under Brexit plans

This article was taken from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/14/nhs-hospital-books-hotel-rooms-cancer-patients-brexit-plans/

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An NHS hospital has booked hotel rooms for cancer patient as part of contingency plans for Brexit.

Maidstone Hospital has taken the steps in case of severe traffic congestion in Kent, under a “worst case scenario”.

The trust running the site said it had booked “a small number of hotel rooms” to ensure patients could still be treated, in the event of problems on the key routes to the Channel ports.

A report to the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust board, reveals the contingency plans for those in need of essential treatment, such as cancer patients.

Patients and medical supplies could also be airlifted into the hospital by helicopter, under the measures.  Maidstone is close to the M20, one of the key routes to the Channel ports.

A spokeswoman for the trust said a small number of hotel rooms had been booked “as a precautionary measure, to ensure we can continue to treat those patients requiring daily treatment”.

In a report to the trust board, health officials said the plans were for a “worst case” scenario, and pointed out the trust has experience of coping with travel disruption.

A new helipad at Maidstone General Hospital is expected to be operational by 31 October when the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union. It could be used to move both patients and essential supplies if the hospital is badly affected by traffic disruption, according to the board papers.

The plans, revealed by Health Service Journal, say that under a worst case scenario, services will be disrupted, but says critical services are believed to be resilient.

A trust spokesperson said: “To ensure our patients can continue to access services in a range of circumstances, such as when travel disruption is anticipated or severe weather is forecast, we have well-tested plans in place as part of our standard business continuity planning.

”We are working in partnership with other agencies across Kent and the wider NHS on our EU exit resilience planning and are confident that we are as prepared as we can be.”

The plans also set out measures such as encouraging staff to use public transport, rather than cars, with pickups from local stations and use of motorcycle couriers for urgent blood supplies.