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QEQM and Kent & Canterbury: anti-austerity campaigners to gather outside hospitals

By Jack Dyson

Protesters have assembled outside two Kent hospitals, with many calling for the retention of some stroke services.

The demonstrations outside the QEQM in Margate and the Kent & Canterbury began at midday to tie in the major rally being held in London's Gower Street.

Activists in Margate are also forming to show their opposition to controversial plans to remove stroke services, which would result in sufferers having to travel to the William Harvey hospital in Ashford for treatment. Drivers are beeping their support

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Protestors outside Margate's QEQM hospital. Picture: Janet Graham
Protestors outside Margate's QEQM hospital. Picture: Janet Graham

The consultation is proposing a shake-up of the county's stroke treatments, costing £40m, which would see an end to general stroke services provided at six sites.

Instead, health bosses believe three 24/7 hyper acute units should be created to replace the care currently given in the six locations.

Five different options for those three units have been given, but none include the QEQM.

Posters carried by those at the march say everyone should have the right to be given stroke treatment within a 'golden hour.'

Video credit: Janet Graham

Sturry resident Goretti Gordon, 59, helped to organise the demonstration in Canterbury in solidarity with those in the capital rallying for more NHs funding.

“We want to support the staff because they are under huge pressure, but we also want to support the demo in London,” she said.

“We will initially be gathering outside the main entrance.”

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate

She was joined by around 15 other people.

There was also a suggestion people would gather outside the William Harvey hospital in Ashford.

In London, tens of thousands of demonstrators will be marching on Downing Street.

Speakers at the event include actor Ralf Little, who has been engaged in a public spat with the health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Fix it Now march is campaigning for further funding for the NHS to support more hospital beds and medical staff.

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