Today is world stroke day when we turn our thoughts to stroke victims across the world whose lives have been changed by having a stroke. In spite of advances in medical treatment and greater knowledge of prevention strokes still sadly remain one of the biggest causes of disablement and death around the world, with those in the most deprived communities suffering most.
In Medway we are fighting to retain stroke services at Medway Maritime Hospital after a lengthy four year review and recent consultation on where one of three new Hyper Acute Stroke Units (HASUs) should be located. Medway has not been included in the preferred recommendation by the Joint Committee of Kent Clinical Commissioning Groups who evaluated the results of the consultation and left Medway out of the running.
Their recommendation will now be sent to the South East NHS Clinical Senate who will sign it off unless new evidence to the contrary comes forward, even though public consultation papers showed Medway hospital was one of only two hospitals which met the NHS criteria for a HASU, and that our hospital is most ideally located to serve other areas of Kent.
Cllr Teresa Murray, Medway Labour Spokesperson for Health, who has been fighting the decision to leave Medway out of the running said, ‘From the outset I was publicly supporting option D in the consultation and was encouraged by the appointment of Dr David Sulch at Medway Maritime Trust, an eminent stroke doctor who spoke up for our hospital during the public meetings.
‘Our clinicians had the enthusiasm and expertise required to set up and run the new unit ensuring that the 500 people each year who unfortunately suffer a stroke in Medway (shockingly higher than other areas in Kent) would get the best treatment available, and with that would come new jobs and development opportunities for clinical staff in this hard to recruit area of work.
‘I am suspicious of the motives for leaving Medway hospital out of the running and believe this could be the start of taking more major specialist services away from our hospital forcing staff and patients to travel further when they need a specialist service. It’s disgraceful that those who took part in the public consultation were mislead. I support a judicial review of this decision and will fight to protect our hospital especially because those who live in the most deprived parts of our towns will lose out even more if this proposal goes ahead.’
Medway Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee minutes: https://democracy.medway.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=131&MId=4313&Ver=4
Kent County Council Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny minutes: https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=909
"I am suspicious of the motives for leaving Medway hospital out of the running and believe this could be the start of taking more major specialist services away from our hospital" Cllr Teresa Murray, Medway Labour Spokesperson for Health