Life-saving, time-critical NHS care is under threat, and Save Our NHS in Kent urgently needs your help to fight back.

NHS bosses intend to close three out of the existing six hospital stroke units in Kent, which will greatly increase journey times for the most deprived populations. This will severely affect the chances of people in Thanet reaching timely stroke care and could increase mortality and disability rates as a result.

We need to raise £5,000 in 30 days to begin our legal case to stop this from happening. Please donate generously to show that none of us want our NHS to be cut to the bone, and we won’t allow our hospitals to be stripped of the most essential life saving services!

Independent assessments have shown that the three remaining units are likely to have capacity problems and that the ambulance service risks being unable to cope with the many extra journeys. This will affect the deprived area of Thanet the most – the ambulance journey time will go up by a staggering 300%, leaving residents a minimum of one hour away from urgent stroke care.

Medway, also a deprived area, is negatively impacted too, and the rest of Kent could suffer due to the pressure on the whole system. Once implemented in Kent, similar cuts could be rolled out to all areas in England, as it is part of a plan to ‘centralise’ stroke care nationally.

Stroke kills millions of brain cells every minute – rapid treatment is essential for the best recovery possible. Let’s not allow this postcode lottery where the poorest in society suffer the most.

Furthermore, it is appalling that there is no appropriate evidence that cuts to the NHS on this scale will actually improve patient outcomes in Kent.

SONIK’s case will argue for at least four stroke units in the county to ensure that all patients reach the care they need within approximately 35 minutes, and for a HASU (stroke unit) to be located in Thanet.

NHS bosses say the plans will bring about an improvement, but evidence shows that longer journey times for critical care such as stroke can lead to major increases in mortality rates.

The plans were approved by local commissioners in February 2019, despite clear disapproval revealed in public consultation responses, protests from the public and numerous local councillors voicing substantial concerns.

Leigh Day (our solicitors), sent a letter to the JCCCG on 14th April 2019 which laid out our grounds for JR, and includes the following: 

– The JCCCG (local NHS commissioners) misunderstood and/or failed to discharge its health inequalities duty

– The JCCCG failed to consider stroke prevention

– The JCCCG failed to make sufficient inquiry into workforce recruitment issues when determining that it was not viable to have a HASU (stroke unit) at QEQM

– The JCCCG has failed to discharge its patient choice duty

– The consultation carried out by the JCCCG was unlawful

– The JCCCG (local NHS commissioners) misunderstood and/or failed to discharge its health inequalities duty (The adverse health impacts of increased travel and ‘call to needle’ times for the more deprived communities in Kent was not properly investigated or considered)

– The JCCCG failed to consider stroke prevention (This was important mitigation and needed to be adequately considered before the decision was made)

– The JCCCG failed to make sufficient inquiry into workforce recruitment issues when determining that it was not viable to have a HASU (stroke unit) at QEQM (There was a failure to interrogate hypothetical claims about recruitment problems)

– The JCCCG has failed to discharge its patient choice duty (By erroneously concluding that it did not need to consider patient choice when reconfiguring stroke services)

– The consultation carried out by the JCCCG was unlawful (The decision of whether there should be 3 or more (or less) HASUs was predetermined – a more than 3 HASU model was unfairly discarded before the consultation and consultees were never given a genuine opportunity to influence the plans – and a pivotal decision-making meeting was held effectively in private)

Save Our NHS in Kent is affiliated with national campaign groups Health Campaigns Together and Keep Our NHS Public.

Life-saving, time-critical NHS care is under threat, and Save Our NHS in Kent needs your help to fight back.