A public consultation on the future of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway is underway and people in east Kent are being urged to take part by attending meetings or giving their views through a questionnaire.
At the stroke meetings, there will also be the chance to hear about plans to develop more joined-up health and care services in east Kent. These will help people get care that looks after them as a whole person, rather than treating their different conditions separately. It will also mean people can get more care and support in their local community, with more services provided at some GP surgeries, community hospitals or other bases.
People have until 13 April to give their views to the public consultation on NHS proposals to establish new hyper acute stroke units providing 24/7 care from specialist stroke teams for people in the vital first 72 hours after their stroke. Where they have been introduced elsewhere, hyper acute stroke units have been shown to save lives and reduce disability. Each would have an acute unit (for care after the first 72 hours) and TIA clinic (for people who have had a “mini-stroke” or transient ischaemic attack) on site.
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.
Dr David Hargroves, Clinical Lead for Stroke Medicine at East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There are currently no hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway. At the moment, 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.
“I would like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation so their views are heard.”
There are a number of events in east Kent where people can find out more and respond to the proposals for stroke, and help shape thinking about the wider changes to create more joined-up care in east Kent. An event has already been held in Margate.
Upcoming public meetings are:
Monday 5 March, 6.30pm to 9pm, Ashford College, Ashford
Wednesday 7 March, 2pm to 4.30pm, Minster Village Hall, Minster
Thursday 8 March, 2.30pm to 5pm, St Peters Church, Herne Bay (rearranged from last week’s postponed meeting)
Saturday 24 March, 10am to 12.30pm, St-Peter-in-Thanet Church, Broadstairs.
Wednesday 28 March, 6.30pm to 9pm, Westgate Hall, Canterbury
Wednesday 4 April, 10am to 12.30pm, Singleton Environment Centre, Ashford
Friday 6 April, 1.30pm to 4pm, St Mary’s Bay Village Hall, Romney Marsh
To take part in the stroke consultation people can also 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.
Design by Dialogue
In addition to these meetings, there will be a separate Design by Dialogue meeting in Canterbury on Thursday 22 March to discuss changes to the east Kent health and care system in more detail. The Design by Dialogue event is at the Spitfire Ground St Lawrence, Old Dover Road, from 6pm. To register for this event please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline Selkirk, Transitional Managing Director for east Kent for the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), said: “I know that people who live and work in east Kent have a lot to say about some of the emerging proposals and ideas.
“It is entirely right and proper that the NHS and local authorities are held to account by the people we serve. I am keen to listen to your perspectives, share ideas and information. We want to create a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities we all face around health and care.
“As we move forward, our success will rely on our relationship with patients, people who use our services, staff and clinicians. By working together we will ensure that collective action can make a positive difference to the health and care of people across east Kent.”