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Medway Liberal Democrats Respond to Stroke Unit Appeal Decision

August 30, 2020 6:51 PM
By Alan Wells/Medway Liberal Democrats

stroke unit picResponding to the news that the Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal brought by Medway Council against the decision not to allow a Judicial Review, Medway Liberal Democrats are disappointed, but not surprised the Judicial Review had failed and we call on the Secretary of State to review the arguments before proceeding with this plan.

Vivienne Parker, Chair of Liberal Democrats said "We are committed to ensuring the very highest quality health services for our residents and have continually voiced our concerns about the impact of the location of the new stroke units. We believe, that both the Joint CCG committee and the High Court have failed to consider health inequalities appropriately when making their decision. Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for the retention of this life saving service here in Medway.

The review of stroke services across Kent and Medway established that Medway Maritime Hospital cares for more stroke patients than any other hospital in the county. Medway is the fastest growing urban area in the South East outside London but it suffers from significant deprivation and health inequalities. The same applies to Sittingbourne and Sheppey, with residents living on the Isle of Sheppey facing a hugely difficult journey to reach Maidstone Hospital, where time is of the essence in terms of suffering a stroke."

Liberal Democrats have no confidence in the preferred three sites to deliver a realistic, workable health service for Medway residents and being sustainable due to capacity. We want a provision of services which best serves the health of our Towns and the health needs of our residents, with stroke services being secured for Medway's growing population. Medway demands better, Liberal Democrats demand better.

ENDS

Additional Text for Editors:

Since the announcement in September 2018 of the decision not to place a 24/7 hyper acute stroke service here in Medway, Liberal Democrats have called for the service retained at Medway Maritime Hospital, and believe that the decision of having vital support services located an hour away as unacceptable. It impacts on over half-million people who use Medway Hospital and the availability of critical stroke care to the 400,000 people within the catchment of Medway Hospital. This is why we supported and welcomed Medway Council in appealing against the High Court's decision to find that the Joint Committee of CCGs had acted lawfully in assessing the impact closing three units would have on patients accessing treatment around the county.

The five options discussed in early 2018 showed three sites as preferable for Hyper Acute Stroke Units - HASUs (Ashford, Tunbridge Wells and Medway), Darent Valley being less preferable and Maidstone as the worst, with Ashford, Tunbridge Wells and Medway providing the best geographical distribution to serve the population and quality of care. People are worried of the implications would have on the local community and their health, especially for those requiring urgent care as they would face significant delays in their treatment if the nearest vital stroke services are over an hour away.

This ultimately resulted in a judicial review into the decision of the Joint Committee of CCGs in December 2019 with the High Court handing down its judgment in that case on 21 February 2020, to rule that the Joint Committee of CCGs had acted lawfully.