For several months local communities and organisations in East Kent went through the health consultation to give their views on moving stroke services and improve them by creating 3 specialist centres.
Residents in our part of Kent have a good service at present based at QEQM in Margate, but the health authorities propose to develop Ashford as an improved centre instead by 2021
Well you might say it seems like an inevitable choice except for one crucial factor – illustrated by TV adverts showing that strokes need immediate attention to prevent loss of faculties, speech or movement. The sooner you reach the specialist attention and assessment, the less damage to an individual occurrs.
Our road journey from Deal/ Dover is about achievable within the 60 minute crucial deadline on a good day, so the ambulance service are forced to say. However how many of us experience traffic jams with commercial dock traffic at the roundabouts with roads backed up. The motorways blocked, Dover logjammed. 30 miles to drive through heavy traffic now but we won’t know the outcomes after Brexit
Residents in Thanet face an even longer journey and through their efforts a campaign has grown to oppose the closure with travel times clearly unachievable.
Last week a joint health board with 16 GPs voted the stroke reorganisation through after a lengthy presentation. The public felt excluded and asked for their questions be answered. The chair adjourned the meeting in order to take the decision behind closed doors.
Dishonest actions by the health commissioners has led to outrage and hurt expressed at a public meeting held by Fair Deal for the NHS in Margate. People cannot believe the stupidity of the location at Ashford that leaves East Kent with no provision whatsoever, with poor transport links and an impossible journey to save lives.
The next step for the campaign is to attempt to persuade KCC councillors on the Health Scrutiny committee meeting on March 1st at County Hall to Refer Back the Stroke decision. A lobby in Maidstone is planned.
Also please send any letters to KCC councillors to persuade them that this reorganisation will be fatal for stroke victims and that there will be no equality of service offered in East Kent to patients.
Another instalment to follow.