Judicial Review over hyper-acute stroke unit plans for Kent and Medway opens today

SONIK campaigners at the High Court Photo Carly Jeffrey

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.

Cllr Constantine and judicial review claimant Marion Keppel

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.”

The court case is due to start at 10.30am and is timetabled to end Thursday afternoon.

 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.


  1. Good luck to those fighting to save our stroke unit. The only people in Thanet who support the closure is our Tories who refuse to represent our views, use your vote to save our local hospital

  2. The very best of luck to all those fighting to save our stroke unit and to all those that have supported these fights in what ever way they could and can.

    No sign of Sir Roger Gale who continues to argue for the closure of the QEQM stroke unit or Craig Mackinlay who just doesn’t think it is – and by extension us are – worth the effort to fight.

    Of course this is just my understanding of it all. If Roger or Craig have done otherwise (and I do not mean by standing by someone else’s placard); my apologies.

  3. Thank you to the tireless Save Our NHS campaigners who have done everything they can for the people of Thanet to keep the stroke unit. Please remember next week when you vote that Gale actually says the stroke unit should shut.

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