The demonstration organised by Save Our NHS in Kent (SONiK) on February 3rd was a great success. Much media coverage before and after the event has raised the profile of the campaign to save the stroke service at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM). I’ve posted some of this below.
Currently in consultation, the plans drawn up by The Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) would see stroke services at QEQM withdrawn in favour of an acute stroke unit being provided at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. This would put Thanet residents amongst a tiny proportion of the UK population who live over an hour from a stroke unit. Health officials acknowledge Thanet as being 63 minutes from Ashford which myself and other campaigners consider too far. Anyone suffering a stroke needs to be receiving treatment within what is termed by medical professionals as ‘The Golden Hour’. A journey across to Ashford on top of the time spent waiting for an ambulance will put lives at risk.
The stroke service consultation asks for input on plans for three hyper acute stroke units in Kent at locations which do not include QEQM as an option. This needs to change. I and my Labour Party colleagues are calling for the stroke service at QEQM to built up and not closed down. Thanet is a large population with wards that include the worst health outcomes in Kent. It is simply unbelievable that we could lose life saving services where they are most needed.
Great response from media and locals
Below is some of the media coverage and a video we produced that showed the fabulous response from passing drivers in Margate. We were honked by cars, buses, lorries, ambulances and motorbikes which raised the spirits of demonstrators in the winter chill. Thanks go to everyone involved.
There will be another stroke service demonstration on February 24th organised by SONiK and I am in the early stages of organising a public meeting with key speakers who can set out the facts and listen to the concerns of Thanet residents. Details will be posted on this site and my Facebook feed.
In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, please sign and share Labour’s petition and help us ensure Thanet has the health services that saves lives.
TV coverage from ITV Meridian News
Isle of Thanet Gazette’s live Facebook video
60 seconds of demo
Pre-demo coverage in the Thanet Gazette newspaper
Click the image to enlarge