STRUCTURE: The board of East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust has voted in favour of reducing outpatient services from 15 to six sites.

At a trust board meeting on Friday the proposals were voted through following a three month public consultation.

The trust claims the change will increase the number of people who are within a 20 minute drive of outpatient services and treat patients with a wider range of conditions.

The board also agreed to pay £455,000 towards better transport links after concerns were raised by members of the public who do not drive.

A final decision will be made on the plans by Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group when it meets next month.

The outpatient clinic opening hours would be extended under the plans, from 7.30am to 7pm on weekdays and will include a Saturday morning clinic.

Estuary View Medical Centre has been selected as the centralised site for specialist acute outpatient services on the north Kent coast.

Chief executive of the trust, Stuart Bain, said: “This is an exciting time for the trust and the improvements we have agreed will allow us to further develop our high quality services for outpatients.

“We await the view of the Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group, who meet next month and we then look forward to implementing these changes that will allow us to provide patients in east Kent with state of the art high quality services.”