Kent campaigners fight on for stroke services

Health campaigners in Kent have declared they will fight “tooth and nail” the government decision to endorse a reconfiguration which will mean halving the number of stroke units in Kent – and lengthening journey times and delays in treatment.

Campaign group Save Our NHS In Kent (SONIK), which has been campaigning for years to save stroke units in east Kent called an emergency protest outside Margate’s QEQM hospital on November 6.

The three remaining specialist stroke centres will eventually be in Dartford, Maidstone and Ashford – with units at Margate, Medway and Canterbury closing, leaving much of East Kent with 60 minute journeys to a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) – assuming the ambulance services can deliver even that much.

Larger areas would face 45 minute journeys to a HASU – far higher than the 30 minute maximum journey for all patients that was specified when stroke services were centralised in London ten years ago, when ambulance services were under less pressure.

Full story in The Lowdown, 15 November 2021