Campaign group Save Our NHS in Kent will be holding two simultaneous protests this Friday (March 22) in Margate and Maidstone.
The demonstrations are to coincide with a vote being taken by the 17 members of Kent’s Health Overview Scrutiny Committee which will decide whether or not to refer controversial Kent and Medway stroke plans back to the Secretary of State for health or not.
If referred back by Kent County Council, the plans to implement three hyper-acute stroke units across the region, meaning the closure of existing acute units at hospitals including Margate’s QEQM, will be on hold and could be subject to a full review.
The nearest unit to Thanet will be at Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital. Units at Darent Valley and Maidstone are due to go live in March 2020 followed by WHH in spring 2021.
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.
SONIK is campaigning to halt the plans and say that at least four units are necessary in order to safely cover the geographical area, keeping journey times within a safe limit.
The demonstrations will be at:
Margate, 10 am, outside Thanet council offices, Cecil Square, Margate
Maidstone, outside County Hall, 9.30am
Find out more about SONIK and its report on the proposals here