Press Release February 2018 CONSULTATION PROCESS IS “A SHAMBLES” The consultation process over stroke treatment in east Kent is now an “absolute shambles,” according to the Save Our NHS In Kent (SONIK) group. Their verdict followed the breakdown of a meeting held by local NHS bosses last night (26th Feb) at Margate Football Club. A panel of high ranking local NHS officials, including Dr Tony Martin, Head of Thanet’s Clinical Commissioning Group, and Dr David Hargroves of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, presented proposals which will mean the closure of the stroke unit in Margate hospital and Thanet stroke victims having to travel to Ashford. “Everyone knows that good treatment for stroke patients depends on how fast you can be treated,” said a SONIK spokesperson. “This plan means the chances of survival for Thanet stroke victims will be severely reduced.” According to SONIK, the meeting started to break down because of a refusal of many in the audience to accept answers provided by the panel. The SONIK spokesperson said: “Members of the public often just did not believe what the NHS people were telling them, things like that there weren’t enough trained staff to provide a stroke service in Margate.” But the meeting finally fell to pieces, according to SONIK, when the organisers tried to force the audience to split into round table discussions. The SONIK spokesperson said: “Splitting into round table groups would mean that people would have to discuss questions set out by the organisers. But most of the audience wanted to go on asking questions of the panel refused to split into groups.” According to SONIK, the meeting then started to fall apart, with around three quarters of the audience deciding to leave rather than take part in round table discussions. A spokesperson for the SONIK group said: “The refusal of the NHS representatives to go on answering questions from the public shows what a fake and hollow process this consultation is.” The spokesperson added: “We believe the whole local NHS consultation process is a sham and a shambles. We are calling on the NHS authorities to abandon their present format for public consultations and instead hold proper public meetings where people can quiz officials and have a vote at the end.” “Most importantly, we must have an option on the table which allows us to have a stroke unit at Margate hospital.” There are two more consultation meetings now scheduled in the Thanet area. For more information visit saveourNHSkent.org.uk Editors for background, pictures etc, ring 07989070843.