A legal challenge to stop the closure of one of Kent's six stroke units has been launched in the High Court. The decision will have a devastating effect for people in the Medway Towns. We see having a vital support service located an hour away as unacceptable and want a decision reconsidered as soon as possible. The decision impacts on 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.

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. The HASUs should be placed in areas of high deprivation in the county, and that the plans will leave many too far from a stroke centre.

We want a decision which best serves the health of our Towns. If our residents needs are not adequately catered for, then that final decision should be challenged and the appropriate services should be secured for our population, and carry out a thorough consultation with residents to find a suitable solution, with new HASUs to be based at Tunbridge Wells, Medway and Ashford.

Medway Liberal Democrats also question the changes to the criteria of the consultation. These changes disadvantaged the option which gave the best quality of care and included Medway. We call on the local council and local MPs to make sure Medway's voice is heard during the judicial review.



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, residents living on the Isle of Sheppey face 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 (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 undoubtedly worried of the implications the closure could 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.