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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Concern at delay for new hospital
Pembury Hospital
Pembury Hospital is just outside the town centre of Tunbridge Wells
The appointment of a company to build a long-awaited 300m hospital for west Kent will not be made until next year, it has emerged.

The hospital at Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells, will replace both the existing Pembury and Kent and Sussex hospitals.

The decision on who will build it will now not be taken until next February.

Rose Gibb, chief executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said there was no delay and she was happy with the progress being made.

But Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark said he was concerned at the time being taken to make a decision.

"Even when they appoint the preferred bidder next February, if they stick to that timetable, it won't be until the following September before contracts are signed.

"I reckon until contracts are signed we can't guarantee that this is going ahead because the government as we see is suffering a lot of financial problems with the NHS at the moment," he explained.

Mr Clark said he would be "fighting every step of the way to get this hospital".


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