Two judicial reviews open at the High Court today (December 3) challenging a decision to close acute stroke services in hospitals including Margate’s QEQM in favour of three hyper-acute units for Kent and Medway.
Two groups, Save Our NHS in Thanet and Thanet Stroke Campaign are fighting the decision made by a Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (JCCCG).
The two cases will be heard together by the same judge although they are being brought on behalf of separate claimants.
Save Our NHS in Kent (SONiK) have been fighting against the changes to A&E and Stroke in east Kent since 2017. The group has also raised awareness of issues such as the potential closure of consultant-led maternity at QEQM and Ashford and the privatisation of pathology services in Kent.
Thanet resident Marion Kepple is the claimant for the Thanet Stroke Campaign. She and her team Cllr Karen Constantine, and Sharon Goodyer raised £5,000 for the court costs after Cllr Constantine set up a crowd funder.
SONIK chair Jon Flaig said: “Judicial review cases are notoriously difficult to win. However, win or lose, the case means the arguments will be examined in public with the people’s voice heard in court.”
A decision on the location for three hyper-acute stroke units (HASUs) across Kent & Medway was agreed by the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups (JCCCG) in February.
The HASUs will be at Darent Valley Hospital, Maidstone Hospital and William Harvey Hospital. Acute services at Margate’s QEQM Hospital will be removed with Thanet patients needing to travel to Ashford for acute services.
Kent and Medway stroke consultants say larger, specialist units in other parts of the country have been shown to improve outcomes for people who have had a stroke.
SONIK will also be holding an event at 1pm on Saturday, December 7 in Market Square, Margate. The campaigners will be highlighting the importance of the NHS as an issue in the general election.