A last call is being made to send emails to county councillors who will make a decision tomorrow (March 22) on whether or not to refer a decision over acute stroke units back to government.
If referred back the Kent and Medway NHS 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.
Acute 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.
Residents have been writing letters to the county members of the health scrutiny panel which will be making the decision.
Those appealing for the decision to be referred include church-goers at St Luke’s in Ramsgate.
Vicar Paul Worledge said: “Many at St. Luke’s in Ramsgate have expressed their concern about the proposed changes to provision of stroke units. There is a real worry that having to travel for at least an hour to Ashford for treatment will significantly worsen chances of a good recovery from a stroke. One person who has been treated for a stroke in Margate said that they are not sure they would have survived if they had to go all the way to Ashford.”
Students at King Ethelbert school in Birchington are also emailing family and friends as part of their Citizenship coursework, to make sure everyone they know is alerted to the situation.
Around 100 letters and emails have been sent so far. Residents have until 10am tomorrow to contact the panel about the decision.
Campaign group Save Our NHS in Kent will be holding two simultaneous protests this Friday in Margate and Maidstone.
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
The full list of councillors taking the stroke decision