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Stroke hospitals in Kent: Medway Council confirms it will lodge judicial review over plans to put specialist units in Dartford, Ashford and Maidstone

A council leader has confirmed a judicial review will be lodged against the decision to locate three new specialist stroke units outside his region.

Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con), the leader of Medway Council, says he is “utterly disappointed” by local NHS commissioning groups’ unanimous support for hyper acute stroke units (HASUs) to be based at hospitals in Ashford, Dartford and Maidstone earlier this month.

A sum of £50,000 has already been set aside for such an appeal following cross-party support.

Stroke patients from Medway will have to travel toAshford, Dartford or Maidstone
Stroke patients from Medway will have to travel toAshford, Dartford or Maidstone

But the authority has declined to comment on whether judicial review documents will be made public before being submitted, if work has begun, or if officers have a specific deadline to meet.

In a statement, Cllr Jarrett said: “I am deeply concerned by this decision, especially as Medway Maritime Hospital is the local hospital for more than half a million people across Medway and Swale.

“When these changes happen, if any of them have a stroke they and their families will no longer be able to receive care locally.

“The hospital has already invested heavily in stroke services and provides a wide range of support to help care for patients to improve their outcomes.

Medway Maritime Hospital
Medway Maritime Hospital

“We will be challenging this decision on behalf of all patients who use and need this fundamental life-saving service and we will be starting the process for a judicial review.”

The HASUs at the Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford and Maidstone Hospital will have 34 and and 38 beds respectively, with both departments set to be open to patients in 2020.

Meanwhile, the 52 beds at Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital will be ready from spring 2021.

Stroke care will not be provided at the Medway Maritime Hospital, Tunbridge Wells Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, and the Kent and Canterbury Hospital once the HASUs are formed.

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