Report from Broadstairs Listening Event

Broadstairs Listening Event (public consultation meeting), Stroke Review report:

24.03.2018 (week 7 of the 10 week consultation)

The venue was full, with all 110 seats full, and some people being turned away as they hadn’t booked. Ten members of SONIK were present in the audience (we had requested a place on the panel to provide some balance, but had been refused). Also present in the
audience were councillors Iris Johnson, Paul Messenger, Lesley Game, and Karen Constantine, and prospective parliamentary candidates for Labour Raushan Ara, Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt and Helen Whitehead, as well as ex Councillor and CCG member Clive Hart. Neither of our local MPs were present.

The panel: Dr Tony Martin, Dr David Hargroves, Patricia Davies, Caroline Selkirk and Susan Acott.

At the beginning of the meeting, Candy Gregory handed over a formal letter from SONIK stating that the consultation process has been inadequate and requesting that the committee withdraw their plan or reconsult. Copies of this letter were also given out to the audience. Patricia Davies responded that the letter will be ‘logged’, and Carly Jeffrey of SONIK stated that is must be read and responded to before it is logged.

What was different about this meeting to preceding ones? Our questions were answered directly without intervention from the chairperson, who at previous meetings had rephrased people’s questions and in some cases bundled numerous questions together. This time, there was no attempt to do so. Also,the chair stated that any unasked questions could be written on cards, handed in, and said they would be answered on the Kent & Medway STP website. At previous meetings, they said they’d ‘feed the questions back’, meaning that nothing would be done with them until after the consultation had ended.

The audience, yet again, were pretty well informed, and asked very pertinent questions around ambulance journey times and ambulance response times, they asked why there is no national approach to stroke recruitment and staffing, and it was commented that this needs to be established before regional areas move to the HASU model.

Also raised were: funding for specialist training, travel difficulties to Ashford, family accommodations, the fact that Thanet healthcare is struggling already, and they asked why QEQM hospital isn’t on the table forthis consultation. One audience member asked for a show of hands, and the response was almost universal for keeping services at QEQM hospital.

An ex- Speech and Language therapist talked of her experience of trying to get back into the role, specifically with the high costs of training. SONIK members asked about the effect on hospitals left behind, the inadequate evidence on death and disability outcomes, inequality of care, and acute bed numbers.

Dr Tim Winch made some very good evidence based points; the audience were very interested in what he had to say, and he got a big cheer from the crowd. He ended by telling the panel that they should ‘hang their heads in shame’.

The two voices from the audience that were in agreement with the panel are both known to the panel – GP Sarah Philips, who quoted the now discredited death and disability evidence from London, and Patricia Funnell, ward manager of QEQM’s stroke unit. Patricia has been at every Thanet meeting so far; this time stood up and said that all who work in the QEQM stroke unit are behind the plan.

SONIK do not believe this to be true, but it is not something that can be proved one way or the other when staff are scared to speak out for fear of the workplace bullying that is known to happen to whistleblowers in the NHS. Dr David Hargroves is Ms Funnell’s direct line manager.

There are 5 new videos from Saturday up on the FB page – please take a look to see what happened at the meeting:

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