It’s excellent news that the new, state-of-the-art hospital at Pembury is all but built, with the internal fit out now speeding ahead. However, let’s not forget that the facility is built on the site of the old Pembury Hospital, and will take the place of both this and the Kent and Sussex hospital in the centre of town.
Many Pembury residents were surprised to hear though, that the new hospital was to be named “The Royal Tunbridge Wells Hospital”, since there is a real affinity to the Pembury location. They felt it should at least be called “The Royal Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury“, and there was a real strength of feeling about this which hasn’t dissipated since.
Accordingly, I wrote to the then Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP. I outlined the strength of local feeling as well as the practical problem, that if the name didn’t include the location, visitors would be likely to head for the centre of Tunbridge Wells to look for the new hospital. At that stage, we were early enough in the process for the inclusion to be made without complication.
I didn’t even get so much as a holding reply from one of Andy Burnham’s civil servants, which apart from anything was just plain rude. The appetite for the name change is still as strong as ever, even if Mr Burnham is no longer in office. Consequently I intend to write with the same request to the new Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley.
From a Government who extol the virtues of localism and small government, let’s hope we can begin to reflect local wishes in local services.