The GP practice and community hospital services in Edenbridge were relocating, with a plan to co-locate in the future. This was against a background of controversy and emotion linked to the local Memorial Hospital.
We were asked to develop and deliver a public consultation on this phased relocation.
We built on the positive stakeholder relationships from the constructive 6 month pre-engagement, which we had advised on and assured. Our team worked in partnership with the GP practice and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust to plan and deliver a consultation that included a mix of outreach roadshows in villages, markets and public events. We reached out to the local school and parents, settled travellers, the housebound, people with learning difficulties and active older people’s groups.
Over the three month period of the public consultation, 1,159 people responded to the survey. Of these, 94% supported the proposed combined hospital/surgery and campaigners were challenged by local people. NHS England praised the process as excellent, and the partnership of stakeholders we developed to steer the consultation continues to mobilise public support for the preferred option – services to be provided in a new building, on a new site with additional day services – and the project is recognised as a priority for the town.