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Closer to Home and Better Planned - Transformation of Stroke Services Gets Go-Ahead, February 2019

01-Mar-2019


Hyper acute stroke units at William Harvey Hospital, Darent Valley Hospital and Maidstone Hospital were given the go-ahead recently following a five-year review of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway.

This decision was made by the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups (JCCCG) for the Kent and Medway Review of Urgent Stroke Services, and should ensure that everyone having a stroke in Kent and Medway will be able to receive specialist stroke care round the clock every day of the year through one of these new hyper acute stroke units once they are up and running.

The decision followed a five-year review of urgent stroke services. This was led by local stroke specialists, who looked at extensive data, as well as evidence showing that merging stroke services to three hyper acute units would be the right thing for patients; with the intention of reducing disability and saving an extra life every fortnight.

It is proposed that these hyper acute sites are to have an acute stroke unit, giving patients expert care after the first 72 hours until they are ready to leave hospital. There will also be a clinic for assessing and treating Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIAs) or ‘mini stroke’.

Currently stroke services in Kent and Medway are not the best in the country, and this is in spite of the hard work of dedicated NHS staff. There are no hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway, with urgent stroke care being provided at six hospitals.

The review indicated that this situation was not acceptable, where hospitals were not able to continuously deliver the standard and quality of stroke care that people should be able to expect, and this was why the stroke review has worked so hard over the last five years to bring about change.

The sentiment from the Director of The Kent and Medway Stroke Review is that this has been a detailed and robust process, led by stroke specialists dedicated to improving care for patients. It involved an extensive public consultation, involving thousands of people.

Those people who took part stated that they understood why stroke services needed to change, but the review also recognised they have concerns about the impact of those changes.

The Review has listened carefully and has considered those concerns in detail, and while their proposals have not changed, issues such as travel and transport will be addressed and plans are to be put in place.

The intention of the recent proposals is to make sure that rehabilitation and support services are closer to home and better planned.

With the recent decision that was made, the committee backed the recommended option for the location of hyper acute stroke units following detailed examination of all possible options.

The work now moves into the putting proposals into practice. The new stroke services are exclusively planned for Maidstone and Darent Valley hospitals in a year’s time; with the third acute services being available at William Harvey Hospital at the beginning of 2021.

For more information about the stroke review, visit the Kent and Medway NHS website.

 


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