NHS stroke services in Thanet are under threat of closure as part of restructuring in Kent. Provision of a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford is proposed, along with two other HASUs in the county. This would leave stroke victims on our isle with over an hour to travel in an ambulance before they could receive the necessary care.
Current plans out for consultation provide a range options for the siting of the three HASUs. However, no option includes Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate. Thanet residents are extremely worried about this proposal, and the extended journey time to a hospital stroke unit or HASU is worrying. Reassurance must be provided. Local people are also worried that more services at QEQM will be removed or ‘downgraded’.
As part of my continued efforts to get the best for Thanet, I have written to Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council. Below is the text of the letter. We can only hope for a response in our favour which will add weight to our desire to have QEQM included in the consultation and, ultimately, stroke services retained at our local hospital.
Letter to Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council
As you will be aware, there is a proposal on the table which effectively plans to remove stoke services from QEQM Hospital, Margate. The current consultation excludes Thanet as an option under consideration for the siting a new Hyper Acute Stroke Unit, (HASU) in Kent.
It is my belief, based on the evidence that I have found, that commissioning such a service outside of Thanet, possibly in Ashford, would be a disservice to the people of Thanet and perpetuate poor health outcomes.
The current consultation does not adequately address the undisputed low health outcome discrepancies between Thanet and the rest of Kent. These should be fully taken into account. Unless they are taken into account in a robust and meaningful way the commissioners are not properly discharging their statutory duties to reduce such inequalities.
Further, urgent consideration should be given to the opportunity to improve Thanet’s economic prospects, again it is undisputed that Thanet lags woefully behind the rest of Kent. By siting a HASU in Thanet the local economy would be boosted. For every pound invested in health services you get between £2.60 and £6 back. Vital for our local economy.
It is imperative that both the health and economic opportunities, are fully considered in this proposal. Will you support me in asking for the consultation to be redrafted to include Thanet as part of the equation?
Cllr Karen Constantine, Ramsgate.
Dr Tony Martin
HOSC committee members
Cllr Chris Well TDC
Cllr Bob Bayford TDC
Cllr Stuart Piper TDC
Cllr Jenny Matterface
Isle of Thanet Gazette – Editor
Isle of Thanet News – Editor