Maidstone Hospital currently caters for both planned and emergency work, but under Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust plans it will become a specialist centre for planned surgical and orthopaedic care. The 12 or so patients who on average visit it each day for emergency surgery will instead go to Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells or other hospitals in Medway, Dartford and Ashford. The trust argues splitting the work will help it to keep infection rates down.
The changes - backed by West Kent PCT - are opposed by some local people who say they will have to travel further to get urgent care on already congested roads.
The plan will only go ahead if it fits with a wider review of health services in the county that ends this summer. But Kent county council overview and scrutiny committee chair Alan Chell said the PCT decision was 'not the end of the line'.