Stroke patients will now be brought to Margate or Ashford hospitals instead of Canterbury hospital.
An announcement by the East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust says all new patients suspected of having a stroke, who would usually be brought to Canterbury, will be taken directly by ambulance to Margate or Ashford instead, whichever is closer, for initial assessment. If stroke is confirmed, patients are treated at this hospital while they are very unwell.
In a statement the Trust said: “This is because patients’ safety and recovery is our utmost priority. We need stroke patients to be seen in the place they will get the most appropriate treatment which means, for the moment, being treated at Ashford and Margate for the first few days of their care.
“Once local patients have recovered from the acute phase of their stroke at Ashford or Margate, they will be able to move to the K&C to continue their recovery and rehabilitation journey, closer to home.
“Most stroke services will remain unchanged at the K&C, including outpatient appointments and rehabilitation services. The hospital’s stroke ward will remain open and continue to care for patients recovering from a stroke.
“Around four people a day usually attend K&C with hyper acute stroke like symptoms. On average, one of these patients has a confirmed stroke and needs admitting to the stroke ward.
“Hospital services are safe and the temporary changes are only being introduced so that we can maintain this.”
The change came into force yesterday (April 11).
The news follows last month’s announcement that trainee doctors were to be moved to Margate’s QEQM Hospital and the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford due to a shortage of consultants to oversee them at Kent and Canterbury.
East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust confirmed 42 of the 76 trainees at K&C would make the move following a request from Health Education England (HEE) that EKHUFT make changes due to a shortage of permanent consultant doctors who oversee and support junior doctor training.
HEE, the body that oversees doctor training, recommended the trainees be moved to continue with their training at the other two sites.
The decision followed a visit by Health Education Kent Surrey and Sussex (HEKSS) to K&C hospital on 8 March to review the experience of junior doctors in training on the site.