Stroke services public consultation: have your say

Patients in HWLH who use services in Kent are being urged to respond to a public consultation on the future of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway, which runs until 13 April 2018.

The NHS is asking for people’s views on proposals to establish new 24/7 hyper acute stroke units which, where they have been introduced elsewhere, have been shown to save lives and reduce disability. The consultation is also asking for views on potential locations for the units. The proposals recommend creating three hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway, and give five different options for where these three new units could be located. If the proposals go ahead, urgent stroke services would not be provided in other hospitals in Kent and Medway.

There are two events in west Kent where people can find out more and have their say. These are on:

  • Tuesday 20 February from 10am to 12 noon at Maidstone Community Support Centre, 39-48 Marsham Street, Maidstone, ME14 1HH
  • Thursday 15 March from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Angel Centre, Angel Lane, Tonbridge, TN9 1SF.

People are also asked to read the consultation document and complete the questionnaire which can be returned online or by post. A list of all events  for the consultation across Kent, Medway, Bexley and the High Weald area of East Sussex is also available.

Dr Bob Bowes, chair of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “At the moment, there are no hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway, and urgent stroke care is provided at six hospitals.

“I very much support the plan for three hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway so that the people of west Kent get the best possible care.

“Currently, although stroke staff do their very best, the way services are organised means that some people do not get the right treatment fast enough, particularly overnight and at weekends. Centralising urgent stroke care in three excellent hyper acute stroke units would change all that.

“We know that patients might currently be able to get to an A&E fairly quickly and the thought of travelling further seems to go against the ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ advice.  However, with a stroke, what counts is the total time it takes from calling 999 to having a brain scan and starting the right treatment.

“Spending 15 minutes in an ambulance but waiting three hours in A&E is worse than an hour in an ambulance going to a specialist unit that can scan you and start treatment within 30 minutes of arrival. It is also vital for patients’ recovery that over those first three days they are seen by a stroke consultant every day, and regularly assessed by specialist therapists – something we can’t offer at the moment.”

Dr Mike Gill, Independent Chair of the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups for Kent and Medway Hyper Acute and Acute Stroke Services which is overseeing the consultation, said, “This consultation is an opportunity to make your voice heard and help us design the best stroke services in Kent and Medway. We encourage everyone to respond, whether you have been involved in the earlier work or not; whether you work in the local NHS or are a resident; whether you have first-hand experience of a stroke or not. All views are important to us.”

Find out more about the consultation and to book a place at an event.

People can book their place at an event online, by calling 0300 790 6796 or by emailing km.stroke@nhs.net

The Stroke Joint Committee papers are now published on the STP website

Urgent Stroke Services: now and in the future infographic