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Concerns over plans to cut treatment for stroke patients at Kent and Medway hospitals

PUBLISHED: 14:24 24 January 2018

Darent Valley Hospital. Picture: KT

Darent Valley Hospital. Picture: KT

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Treatment for stroke patients could be cut from three hospitals in Kent and Medway.

A joint taskforce of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) covering Kent, Medway, Bexley and East Sussex said the proposals could save 15 lives in the county if services were offered at three hospitals instead of the current six, which includes Dartford’s Darent Valley Hospital.

The report was presented at the Kent and Medway joint health overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Monday.

It states that “specialist stroke resources are spread too thinly and more hospitals do not meet national standards.”

According to the report, the committee heard that more than a third of stroke patients in the area are not getting brain scans on time, and half are not getting clot busting drugs on time.

As well as Darent Valley, hospitals with services are on the line include Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Maidstone General Hospital, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate and Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham.

Dr Mike Gill from Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) said that having six hospitals providing acute stroke services “is unsustainable in terms of providing the type of care required”.

The STP has narrowed the proposal down to five options and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford will keep stroke care in all variations.

Michael Ridgewell from the STP told the committee that the hospital had been selected after an analysis of services.

During the meeting in Maidstone, councillors from Kent, Medway and Bexley shared their concerns about ambulance services not transporting patients on time.

Patricia Davies from NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG assured them that the STP had worked alongside the ambulance service during the four-year review.

She said: “Under this plan, 98 per cent of the population within 60 minutes would be able to get to a hospital and have the clot busting drug within two hours - the optimal time.”

A decision is expected to be made by September, following a 10 week public consultation and votes in district, town and parish councils.

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