Transformation of stroke services gets go-ahead

15 February 2019

Hyper acute stroke units at William Harvey Hospital, Darent Valley Hospital and Maidstone Hospital were given the go-ahead yesterday by a unanimous decision of the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups for the Kent and Medway Review of Urgent Stroke Services.

Once the new units are up and running, everyone having a stroke in Kent and Medway will be taken to their nearest hyper acute stroke unit, which will offer specialist stroke care round the clock every day of the year.

The decision comes after a five-year review of urgent stroke services, led by local stroke specialists. They looked at a wealth of data and evidence which shows that centralising stroke services in three hyper acute units is the right thing for patients. It will reduce disability and is expected to save a life every other week.

At the moment despite the hard work of dedicated NHS staff, stroke services in Kent and Medway are some of the poorest in the country. This is not acceptable and that is why the stroke review has worked so hard over the last five years to bring about change.

Rachel Jones, Director for the Kent and Medway Stroke Review, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the stroke review. This has been a detailed and robust process, led by stroke specialists dedicated to improving care for patients.

“We undertook an extensive public consultation, involving thousands of people who told us they understand why stroke services need to change, but we recognise they have concerns about the impact of those changes.

“We have listened carefully to those concerns and considered them in detail. While our proposals have not changed, we are working to address issues such as travel and transport and putting plans in place to make sure that rehabilitation and support services are closer to home and better planned.”

With its decision today, the committee backed the recommended option for the location of hyper acute stroke units, which was arrived at after a detailed and rigorous evaluation of all the possible options.

The work now moves into the implementation phase. It is anticipated that the new stroke service will begin at Maidstone and Darent Valley hospitals in about a year’s time, and at William Harvey Hospital in spring of 2021.

Further information is on the Kent and Medway STP website at www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/stroke