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Critical Services in Medway Towns at Risk

April 14, 2019 11:31 PM
medway maritime hospitalMedway Liberal Democrats are calling for improvements to our local health services. We oppose the removal of critical stroke care in Medway and are campaigning for the return of mental health services.
A recent NHS decision to locate specialised Stroke Units at Ashford, Dartford and Maidstone could impact on the availability of critical stroke care to the 400,00 people within the catchment of Medway Hospital. We question the last minute changes to the way the different options for siting the units were assessed. We support a Judicial Review on the decision and referral to the Secretary of State on the grounds that the selection process is flawed.

The decision impacts on half-million people who use Medway Hospital. Medway is the fastest growing urban area in the South East outside London but suffers from significant deprivation and health inequalities.

Medway Liberal Democrats are supportive that there should be three hyper-acute stroke units, but not supportive of the location of the units chosen in the decision where time is of the essence in terms of suffering a stroke. We want a decision which best serves the health of our residents.

Medway Liberal Democrats have been campaigning across the Medway Towns fighting to reinstate a Mental Health Unit in Medway. The campaign has highlighted Mental Health services in general at a local level and in particular regarding the issue of referring patients out of area.

We believe that with a population of approximately 270,000 people, Medway is big enough that its Health Trust should be able to provide these services to local people.

Our petition was signed by 1,200 people across the Medway Towns and the surrounding area of Kent, which is also affected by out of area referrals needed as a consequences of closing the Mental Health Unit at Medway Maritime Hospital in 2013. The signatures were collected online, on doorsteps and at a series of street campaigns organised by local Liberal Democrat members.

John Castle, Liberal Democrat Candidate for River ward states "Many people have spoken to us saying that action is needed to address this and other issues affecting Mental Health provision in Medway. We call on the Department of Health to reinstate a fit for purpose Mental Health Unit in Medway ".

We have seen people come forward to tell us that out of area referral, even within the Kent & Medway region costs more, reduces the ability of people to visit those in hospital and in turn lowers the quality of treatment. All over the country out of area treatment for Mental Health is now being regarded as standard practice and the Liberal Democrats strongly believe this is not in the best interests of patients and does not provide good quality of care.

We have petitioned the people with the power to reinstate the unit in Medway. The Council do not have power to act on this issue, however we have asked questions and they responded stating that Medway Councillors opposed the closure.

In government we argued for parity for Mental Health with Physical Health and out of area referrals undermine this principle of parity.