People in Medway are being urged to respond to a public consultation on the future of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway, which runs until 13 April 2018.
The NHS is asking for people’s views on proposals to establish new 24/7 hyper acute stroke units which, where they have been introduced elsewhere, have been shown to save lives and reduce disability.
Sarah Vaux, Chief Nurse at NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The plans for stroke provision mean the people of Medway would get the best possible care. Hyper acute stroke units have been proven to save lives so it is something we are very keen to introduce.
“At the moment, although patients can generally reach A&E in good time, they aren’t necessarily getting the right treatment quickly enough once they get there, particularly overnight and at weekends. How well people recover from a stroke is affected by the speed and quality of treatment.
“The ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ advice makes it clear that speed is of the essence when it comes to starting the right treatment. The hyper acute stroke units can begin treatment within half an hour of arrival and ensure patients receive the best possible care from stroke specialists during the critical first 72 hours.”
The consultation is also asking for views on potential locations for the units. The proposals recommend creating three hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway, and give five different options for where these three new units could be located. If the proposals go ahead, urgent stroke services would not be provided in other hospitals in Kent and Medway.
There are two events in Medway where people can find out more and have their say. These are:
- Monday 5 March from 2pm to 4pm at Rochester Baptist Hall, The Moat House, 8 Crow Lane, Rochester, ME11RF
- Tuesday 20 March from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Kent Ramgarhiadarbur & Community Centre, 63 Franklin Road, Gillingham, ME7 4DG
Local people can view the consultation document and complete the questionnaire by visiting www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/stroke. A list of all the consultation events in Kent, Medway, Bexley and the High Weald area of East Sussex is also available online.
Dr Diana Hamilton-Fairley, Medical Director at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I would encourage everyone living in Medway to have their say in the stroke consultation. Medway Maritime Hospital is in three out of the five options being considered as a future site for a hyper acute stroke unit – the best place for stroke patients to be treated.
“There is really clear evidence that patients benefit most from being treated at a hyper acute stroke unit in the first 72 hours after their stroke, and that is something we want to offer for our patients.
“The make-up of our population – high numbers of elderly people, pockets of deprivation, and a higher than average number of smokers – means a greater incidence of stroke in Medway, making it all the more important for local people to express their views through the consultation.
“Stroke is a medical emergency and the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK, causing seven per cent of all deaths. Almost two-thirds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability, such as sight problems, limb weakness or communication problems. We are convinced hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway can help us achieve better outcomes for our patients in Medway and Swale.”
Dr Mike Gill, Independent Chair of the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups for Kent and Medway Hyper Acute and Acute Stroke Services which is overseeing the consultation, said: “This consultation is an opportunity to make your voice heard and help us design the best stroke services in Kent and Medway. We encourage everyone to respond, whether you have been involved in the earlier work or not; whether you work in the local NHS or are a resident; whether you have first-hand experience of a stroke or not. All views are important to us.”
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Notes to editors:
The proposals recommend creating three hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway and give five different options for where these three new units could be located. If the proposals go ahead, urgent stroke services would not be provided in other hospitals in Kent and Medway.
Each of the proposed hyper acute sites would also have an acute stroke unit to give patients expert care after the first 72 hours until they are ready to leave hospital, and a clinic for assessing and treating transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs or mini strokes).
The shortlist of possible locations is:
- Darent Valley Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
- Darent Valley Hospital, Maidstone Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
- Maidstone Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
- Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
- Darent Valley Hospital, Tunbridge Wells Hospital and William Harvey Hospital
Stroke services in Kent and Medway are used by some people from Bexley in south east London and the High Weald area of East Sussex. The consultation is overseen by the Kent and Medway Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups for Hyper Acute and Acute Stroke Services, which has delegated authority from each of the eight Kent and Medway clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS Bexley CCG and NHS High Weald Lewes Havens CCG.
What is a stroke?
Stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off by either a blockage or a bleed in one of the blood vessels, causing damage to the brain tissue.
The effects of a stroke depend on which part of the brain is injured and how severely it is affected. We know that the care given in the first 72 hours after a stroke has the greatest impact on reducing long-term damage and disability.
The type of treatment needed depends on the type of stroke, and whether it is caused by a bleed or a blockage, which can only be determined by expert diagnosis.