NHS campaign group Save Our NHS in Kent will be marking world stroke day tomorrow (October 29) with a live video stream on facebook.
They will be highlighting what they believe are the dangers of increasing journey times for stroke patients by closing stroke units in favour of centralised hyper-acute stroke care.
The NHS in Kent and Medway – which includes all 8 Clinical Commissioning Groups – Bexley in south east London and the High Weald area of East Sussex has announced Darent Valley Hospital, Maidstone Hospital and William Harvey Hospital as preferred options for specialist hyper-acute stroke units.
General stroke services are provided in all the hospitals across Kent and Medway, including the QEQM, but there are currently no specialist hyper acute units. NHS bosses in the region say larger, specialist units in other parts of the country have been shown to improve outcomes for people who have had a stroke.
The decision means current services will likely be removed from some hospitals, including QEQM in Margate.
A spokesperson for SONIK said: “We do not believe that journey times to a nearest unit for acute stroke care should be more than 30 minutes drive away; ideally there shouldn’t be many people outside the catchment area of 45 mins drive; and we certainly do not think that large swathes of people being one whole hour from urgent, lifesaving stroke care is acceptable.
“To mark world stroke day, we will be live streaming on facebook on Monday evening at 6pm. We hope people can either tune in or watch it later. We will be explaining why we believe the case for change in Kent is so poor, as well as looking at the national level issues driving these changes.”
To tune in, go to the SONIK facebook page at 6pm: www.facebook.com/saveournhskent
The group will also be talking about upcoming changes to A&E and maternity services in East Kent. The video will be available after the live stream ends, and the group will be sharing it on their website and on other social media platforms.
The spokesman added: “People are very worried about the changes to stroke care locally, and now with the plans to potentially close A&E units in the area as well, there’s anger, concern and also confusion. The A&E consultation plans that have been released show two options for A&E across the three east Kent hospitals, but with all the other services that are crammed into the proposals (GP care, maternity orthopaedics) people are understandably confused. We will do our best to clarify the main points in the proposals, and the impact they could have.”
SONIK has timed the live stream to coincide with the release of a new document they have produced that outlines the main reasons why they say the Kent stroke plans must be halted. They say the document contains vital information that the public and decision makers must know about before the proposals are voted on in January.
The group intends to send the document to all of Kent’s MPs, councillors, the Stroke Association and committees with health responsibilities at a county and district level. It will also go to every single member of the committee that have the final vote in January. SONIK hopes that members of the public will read it too.
The briefing document, called ‘Four Reasons the Kent Stroke Plans Must Be Halted’, can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/2RgcuT8
Carly Jeffrey, of SONIK. said “If 75% of the GPs on the voting committee decide to vote yes to the stroke proposals, the plan will go through. We need to appeal to them to change their minds and to understand the implication of the choice they will be making as well as the lack of relevant evidence; after they receive this document, they won’t be able to claim that they were unaware or not fully informed.”