STRUCTURE: Early stage discussions are underway to consider how to improve health and social care services in the Whitstable area, according to NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent.

The PCT says the town is facing increasing demand for community and day care services for elderly patients, and options are being explored to provide the best possible services in the future.

GP John Ribchester, who leads the Whitstable Clinical Commissioning Group, has begun discussions with the PCT, Kent County Council Social Services, and community provider Kent Community Health NHS Trust.

In a statement, the PCT said: “It is acknowledged that the condition of the ageing Whitstable and Tankerton hospital building will need addressing at some stage in the future. At the same time KCC’s Ladesfield nursing home in Whitstable is scheduled for closure in September.

“With this in mind, and in view of the increasing demand, it is felt that the time is right to plan for the future looking at where services can best be provided from, as well as what services are provided for local people.”

The PCT said using the existing community hospital site would be considered, bit there were concerns about cost and practicalities because of the state of the fabric of the building. As a result, another location will also be examined.