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' Health Secretary's decision will mean Medway Hospital will be losing its stroke provision' - say Liberal Democrats

November 6, 2021 6:39 PM
By alan wells - Medway Liberal Democrats

medway maritime hospitalMedway Liberal Democrats are disappointed at the Health Secretary's decision to close Medway Hospital's stroke provision in favour of Hyper Acute Units. Since the announcement in September 2018 of the decision not to place a 24/7 hyper acute stroke service here in Medway, we have called for the retention of this life saving service to remain at Medway Maritime Hospital. The decision of having vital support services located an hour away as being unacceptable.

John Castle, Chair of Liberal Democrats said "Judicial review, the legal route to protest was the last chance to recognise the resistance to move the stroke unit and correct the decision and to appeal for the Secretary of State to reverse the plans. The Health Secretary's decision 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."

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.

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.

John Castle added, "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 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:

Stroke Awareness places emphasis on making the public aware about acting FAST, prompt assessment and treatment saves lives, with 80% of strokes being prevented.

FAST being an acronym for things to check in a suspected stroke victim:
· F - Face / Does the face droop on one side when the person smiles?
· A - Arm / After raising both arms, does one of the arms drift downwards?
· S - Speech /After repeating a simple phrase, does the persons speech sound slurred or strange?
· T - Time / If any or all of the above are observed call 999 and ask for medical assistance.

If you are experiencing any symptoms or know of someone experiencing symptoms, you must call 999.