‘Final nail’ fear as K&C is left off stroke centre list
Disappointed health campaigners fear leaving the Kent & Canterbury Hospital out of the options in a countywide consultation on stroke services could be the final nail in its coffin.
Chiefs have drafted a list of five options for the £40 million shakeup – which will see three 24/7 hyper acute units replace care currently provided at six hospitals – but the K&C is not included in any. Nor is Margate’s QEQM.
The consultation, which does, however, include Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital in all five, was revealed in the same week that protesters gathered to call for the retention and resurrection of services at the K&C.
Ken Rogers, chairman of Concern for Health in East Kent (Chek), believes health bosses are making a huge mistake by shunning Canterbury.
“We are now at a critical stage in this fight to save our beloved K&C,” he said.
“If we lose stroke services from Canterbury this will be one of the final nails in the coffin for comprehensive hospital care in the centre of east Kent and the end of our hospital as we know it.
“It was an insult to us all when the K&C was left out of all the options in the consultation. There is still an offer to build the shell of a new hospital but this has been ignored. Now it’s up to the people of east Kent to fight or they will lose their hospital forever.”
The countywide change for stroke services is hoped to raise the standard of care in the crucial
first few hours following a stroke.
Dr David Hargroves, senior stroke consultant at the East Kent Hospitals trust, said: “There is clear evidence patients benefit most from being treated at a hyper-acute stroke unit in the first 72 hours after their stroke,
even if that means ambulances driving past the nearest A&E department to get to one.
“Spending 15 minutes in an ambulance but waiting three hours in A&E is worse than an hour in an ambulance going to a specialist unit that can scan you and start treatment within 30 minutes of arrival.”
Retired consultant Dr Michael Goggin said: “The William Harvey is not in the centre of east Kent and a stroke centre there will be to the detriment of Thanet
patients.” Dr Goggins also stresses that no matter which option is chosen, west Kent will have two stroke centres while east Kent has just one.
He said: “Everything must be done to make it a centre where the majority of patients can be treated and the complexity for stroke treatment could certainly be carried out in Canterbury if that were the site chosen.”
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Stroke consultant Dr David Hargroves, right, says there is clear evidence patients benefit most from being treated at a hyper-acute stroke unit