Published: 15:00, 02 February 2018
| Updated: 15:35, 02 February 2018
The consultation into a £40 million shake up of stroke services in Kent and Medway has been launched today.
People can have their say on the consultation by attending public meetings and completing online or postal questionnaire.
The proposals will see three 24/7 hyper acute units replace the care provided at six hospitals.
Dr Mike Gill, Independent Chair of the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups for Kent and Medway Hyper Acute and Acute Stroke Services said: “This consultation is an opportunity to make your voice heard and help us design the best stroke services in Kent and Medway.
“We encourage everyone to respond, whether you have been involved in the earlier work or not; whether you work in the local NHS or are a resident; whether you have first-hand experience of stroke or not. All views are important to us.”
It is hoped this will raise the standard of stroke care in the crucial first few hours after a stroke.
A shortlist of the three locations has been drawn up.
Dr David Hargroves, clinical lead for the stroke review and senior stroke consultant at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am delighted that we’re launching this consultation today.
“There is clear evidence that patients benefit most from being treated at a hyper acute stroke unit in the first 72 hours after their stroke, even if that means ambulances driving past the nearest A&E department to get to one.”
“We know that patients might currently be able to get to an A&E fairly quickly and the thought of travelling further seems to go against the ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ advice. With stroke, what counts is the total time it takes from calling 999 to having a scan and starting the right treatment.
“Spending 15 minutes in an ambulance but waiting three hours in A&E is worse than an hour in an ambulance going to a specialist unit that can scan you and start treatment within 30 minutes of arrival.
“It is also vital for patients’ recovery that over those first three days they are seen by a stroke consultant every day, and regularly assessed by specialist therapists – something we can’t always offer at the moment.”
Dr Diana Hamilton-Fairley, Medical Director of Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: “Stroke is a medical emergency and the third most common cause of death for people under the age of 75 in the UK.
“Almost two-thirds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability, such as sight problems, limb weakness or communication problems. We are convinced these proposals for hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway will improve the quality of services and help us achieve better outcomes for the 3,000 stroke patients treated in our area each year.”
Dr Steve Fenlon, Medical Director of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust said: “Across Kent and Medway, stroke services are not consistently organised in a way that delivers the most efficient or effective care.
“Experience elsewhere has shown that consolidating stroke teams should provide better care in the future: that must be the aim of us all.
“The involvement of the public will help us shape the model of care and provide support to our committed healthcare professionals delivering this vitally important service.”
Dr Peter Maskell, Medical Director at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said: “We welcome the opportunity to take part in this important consultation to improve stroke care for patients across Kent and Medway, and encourage as many people as possible to take part so their views are heard.”
The consultation will run for 10 weeks until April 13, 2018.
To find out more about how to respond to the consultation, visit the consultation page.
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