Health professionals urge peers to reject NHS reforms

In a letter to peers published today in the Daily Telegraph, experts from across the country said the changes must be rejected as they represented a risk to patient care and safety.

Among those who signed the letter were Amy Bird, speciality registrar in public health for Kent; Professor Stephen Clift, professor of health education at Canterbury Christ Church University; Dr Linda Garvican, quality assurance director for cancer screening programmes at NHS South East Coast; and Dr Angela Bhan, director of public health and managing director of Bromley Business Support Unit.

The doctors suggested the NHS reforms – due to be discussed in the House of Lords next week – will fragment services, possibly threatening vaccination and screening campaigns.

They write: “As public health doctors and specialists, we are concerned about the Health and Social Care Bill. The bill will do irreparable harm to the NHS, to individual patients and to society as a whole.

“The Government claims that the reforms have the backing of the health professions. They do not. Neither do they have the public’s support.

“The Health and Social Care Bill will erode the NHS’s ethical and cooperative foundations and will not deliver efficiency, quality, fairness or choice.”

Three children treated in hospital after collision

A man has been arrested after two cars collided in Cheriton Road in Folkestone.

Three children, aged three, nine and 10, were in one of the cars and were taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford to be treated for minor injuries following the collision, which happened at 9.10pm on Saturday.

The 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving whilst unfit due to alcohol.

He has been released on bail until later this month, pending further investigation.

Two other men also arrested were released without charge.

Col Tim Collins to run for Kent police commissioner role

A former Army officer famed for his inspirational speech on the eve of the Iraq War wants to become Kent’s first elected police commissioner.

Col Tim Collins will announce this week that he will run for selection as a Conservative candidate for one of the new £120,000-a-year posts to be introduced next year.

The 51-year-old, who lives in Whitstable, told the Sunday Telegraph he was inspired by the achievements of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who reduced crime through tougher policing.

He added: “This is a job for someone energetic and who is willing to work with the chief constable.

“It is important that it doesn’t become just a talking shop for knackered old policemen or a sunset gig for some trough-loving councillor.

“I bring an experience of leadership at a high level. I think many of the failings in Kent are down to weak commanders and would seek to bring my military and commercial experience to weed out the weak to make the most of tight budgets.”

“I have a good relationship with the police in Kent. I have friends there who were very kind to me when I was leaving the Army and wondering what to do.

“In general, the force is ‘match fit’, but there are a lot of things that can be done better. I, like many, get frustrated by the few struggling local commanders who would rather make offences go away than investigate them. That is the fault of misplaced enthusiasm for crime figures and people who are determined to be promoted at all costs and don’t want to investigate crimes so that they can keep a clean sheet.”

Col Collins was born in Belfast and served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq before quitting in 2004 after becoming disillusioned. He now runs a firm training foreign policemen.

He was awarded the OBE after making a rousing speech to his troops in Kuwait as they prepared to liberate Iraq, in March 2003. A copy of his address was hung in the Oval Office by then-President George W Bush.

The role of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will replace the existing police authority structure, which in Kent is currently chaired by Ann Barnes.

Folkestone Triennial hailed a success

More than 100,000 people visited this years Folkestone Triennial – a massive 100 per cent rise compared to the inaugural festival three years ago.

Organisers the Creative Foundation said there was a noticeable rise in the number of people coming from outside the region to join locals in seeing the public art project, which included permanent and temporary works located around the town.

Fundraiser for the not-for-profit group, Liz Duckworth, said they were thrilled with the response.

“I think with the first Triennial people didn’t really know what to expect, but this time we saw a lot more people coming down from London and people visiting in groups,” she said.

“The new fountain in the harbour and new restaurants helped attracts people down to the area. We’re delighted with how it went.”

Ms Duckworth said a number of artworks stood out among the rest in attracting the crowds over the three month Triennial.

Cornelia Parker’s Folkestone Mermaid, Hew Locke’s For Those in Peril On The Sea exhibition featuring 100 model ships in St Mary and St Eanswythe’s Church, and Martin Creed’s sound work for the Leas Lift saw visitors descend in their hundreds to admire the work.

Negotiations are now underway to see which pieces will stay permanently in Folkestone.

Folkestone Triennial returns in 2014. The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust has already pledged £1.5m for the project.

Elderly woman in Newchurch crash dies

The 81-year-old was injured in the collision, which happened on Friday, September 30, and taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford where she died on Sunday morning.

Police were called by other emergency services at 11.15am on Friday.

Anyone who witnessed the collision or saw the car being driven before the crash is urged to contact Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 01622 798538.

Three men arrested over graveyard sex assault

The alleged offence on a 38-year-old woman took place in the grounds of St Mary and St Eanswythe Church, Priory Gardens, at about midnight on Thursday.

A 30-year-old man from Canterbury and a 31-year-old man from Folkestone attended Folkestone police station on Saturday and have been released on bail pending further investigations until November 14.

A third man, aged 29 from Folkestone, is currently being questioned in custody after attending Folkestone police station earlier today (Monday).

Police are also trying to trace a fourth man in connection with the assault.

Acting Det Chief Insp Julien Lawton said: “The victim had visited two local pubs that evening – the Lord Morris in Guildhall Street and the East Kent Arms in Sandgate Road.

“While she was in the East Kent Arms she had a conversation with a group of four men. They were all white, aged about 28 and were all of slim build and dressed in casual clothing. One man had tattoos and a foreign accent.

“She left the East Kent Arms at about 11pm in the company of one of the men. It appears that he was then joined by three other men, and they took her into the graveyard where she was sexually assaulted.”

Police have searched the graveyard and are also carrying out house-to-house inquiries and examining CCTV footage of the area.

Anyone with information should call police on 01622 690690 or Kent CrimeStoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 quoting crime number FY/015285/11.

Fuel campaign hits 100,000 mark to trigger debate

An online petition, set up by Kent campaigners, calling on action to prevent fuel costs spiralling upwards, has hit the 100,000 mark – the required amount to trigger a debate in the House of Commons.

The petition, set up on the Government’s e-petition website, becomes only the third to obtain the required number of signatures to prompt a Commons debate.

Among those behind its setting up was Peter Carroll, from Folkestone, organiser of the FairFuel UK campaign.

The petition called for planned fuel duty increased to be scrapped and prices at the pumps stabilised.

Mr Carroll said: “The public have spoken loud and clear. They want politicians to understand a cut in fuel duty will help stimulate growth.”

The only two other petitions to have hit the 100,000 mark called for those involved in the summer riots to lose their benefits and for cabinet papers on the Hillesborough football disaster to be released.