Pembury loses out in campaign for new stroke unit

Pam Mills

The governing body for NHS Kent and Medway announced yesterday [Tuesday] their ‘preferred option’ is to install the specialist units at Maidstone Hospital, Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.Maidstone Hospital is a 40 minute drive from Tunbridge Wells.

NHS leaders are making the £40million upgrades as a way of providing high quality care around the clock, admitting they currently feel stroke services do not meet best-practice standards.

The Hyper Acute Stroke Units provide 24 hour availability to the latest equipment and medical expertise. They have been proven to reduce death rates and long-term disability in the areas where they have been installed.

MP Greg Clark had urged people to support moves to have one of the stroke units at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
Patricia Davies, the Senior Responsible Officer for the Kent and Medway Stroke Review, said a final decision has not yet been made.
“Today’s announcement is an important step in the stroke review process,” she said.

“However, it is important to stress there are still several hurdles to clear before a final decision is made about the future of urgent stroke care in Kent and Medway.”
The plan will now be finalised and examined before a final decision is made in January.

Glenn Douglas, representing Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Groups, said travel times were considered in making the decision. There were five possible options of hospital combinations and the Medway Maritime Hospital also missed out.

Miles Scott, Chief Executive of both Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone hosptials, said: “The recommendation is an opportunity for our highly skilled stroke teams to play a pivotal role in improving outcomes for stroke patients across Kent and Medway.”

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