Thanet Stroke Campaign has gone live with a crowdfunding appeal to raise cash for a Judicial Review over the decision to close acute stroke units at hospitals including QEQM in favour of a super-unit at Ashford hospital.
The Thanet Stoke Campaign have appointed well know public law expert Alex Rook of London based firm Irwin Mitchell. The first target is to raise £5,000. Campaign members are urging residents to contribute whatever they can. The group is using the Crowd Justice platform.
Spokesperson and Ramsgate resident Janet Fielding said: “It is absolutely vital that people now give whatever they can to the campaign. The Judicial Review is the very best way of stopping this questionable decision, which is causing great concern. It will also send the clearest message possible to the decision makers and the Clinical Commissioning Group, CCG, that the residents of Thanet will no longer put up with a second class NHS.”
Another member of the Thanet Stroke Campaign Carolyn Hume who is 55 and has suffered a serious stroke added: “When my partner dialled 999 we had no idea what was wrong but knew it was serious with the severity of my symptoms. The paramedics were also unsure as I had none of the typical FAST stroke symptoms.
“I was treated in QEQM hospital by fantastic specialists 10 minutes after I left my home and stabilised quickly in order to be scanned to diagnose my stroke and start appropriate treatment.
It would have been disastrous for me or for anyone else who lives such a distance from Ashford to have to travel for over an hour in an ambulance and to be at least 50 minutes later in starting any treatment when speed is so critical following a stroke”.
The campaigners are urging residents to pledge to meet the £5,000 target by going to https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/thanet-stroke-campaign/
They are also asking locals to keep up to date by finding Thanet Stroke Campaign on Facebook and joining.
Hyper-acute stroke units
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.
A final decision on the location for three hyper-acute stroke units (HASUs) across Kent & Medway was confirmed by the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups (JCCCG) at a meeting in Maidstone on February 14.
The units will be at Darent Valley Hospital, Maidstone Hospital and William Harvey Hospital – meaning the closure of acute services at Margate’s QEQM Hospital as well as at Medway Hospital, Tunbridge Wells Hospital, and Kent & Canterbury Hospital – which has already had its service withdrawn due to the removal of training doctors by Health Education England in March 2017
The plan is for Darent Valley to have a 34 bed unit, Maidstone General Hospital 38 beds and William Harvey Hospital 52 beds.
Director for the Kent and Medway Stroke Review Rachel Jones says delays to plans for new hyper-acute stroke units will inevitably result in ‘more deaths and more disability.’
She added: “We have carefully considered population growth, deprivation and travel times to potential hyper acute stroke units in our review. We believe the rigorous process that we have followed and the decision we made will enable us to best meet the needs of our whole population, and save an extra life a fortnight.
“We will, of course, comply with any requirements that a judicial review or referral to the Secretary of State brings but are aware that this will have an impact on the implementation of the HASUs across Kent and Medway. Any delay to implementation will inevitably lead to more deaths and more disability than if we are able to go ahead as planned.”