Thanet Stroke Campaign has hit its first crowdfunding target of £5,000 towards the cost of launching a Judicial Review into the decision to close acute stroke units at hospitals including QEQM in favour of a super-unit at Ashford hospital.
The Thanet Stroke Campaign have appointed public law expert Alex Rook of London based firm Irwin Mitchell. Group member and Labour election candidate Karen Constantine met with Mr Rook at his offices today (April 18).
Find the fundraiser at 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.
Stalwart hospital campaigner Betty Renz has backed the action saying a legal precedent to keep services accessible has already been set by the 2013 ruling in favour of the Lewisham Hospital campaign.
She has accused NHS bosses of contravening duties to keep services accessible and ensure equality for all.
She said: “In my opinion we should have this Judicial Review.”
The Thanet Stroke Campaign is seperate group and not affiliated with Save Our NHS in Kent (SONIK) which has also been campaigning against the closure of the QEQM acute stroke service.
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as at Medway Hospital, Tunbridge Wells Hospital, and Kent & Canterbury Hospital – which has already had its service withdrawn due to the removal of training doctors by Health Education England in March 2017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.”