Health commissioners from all eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Kent and Medway have been working in partnership on a review of acute stroke services over the last two years. The review is in response to national evidence, requirements and recommendations specifically for ‘hyper-acute’ stroke care, meaning the care people receive in the first 72 hours after having a stroke.

Although hospital staff in Kent and Medway provide the best service they can, the way stroke services are set up currently, along with staff shortages, mean our local hospitals do not consistently meet the national standards for clinical quality. National evidence shows people having a stroke do best when they are treated in a specialist stroke unit available 24 hours a day seven days a week and staffed by specialist doctors, nurses and therapists.

Over recent years, a number of areas across the country have reorganised their stroke services to provide such units. They have seen significant improvements in patient outcomes as a result. Following detailed engagement with patients and stroke doctors and nurses, we are looking at creating hyper-acute specialist stroke units in Kent and Medway. This will lead to a reduction in the number of hospitals admitting stroke patients and an improvement in outcomes for patients, reducing deaths and disability.

Detailed work has been taking place as part of the review. We are currently looking at a number of three-site options for specialist hyper acute stroke services in Kent and Medway. The possible site options being considered at this stage are all combinations of three hospital sites which could provide the future service for residents in Kent and Medway.

We are currently testing the evaluation criteria which will be applied to reduce the number of options for a formal public consultation which is expected to start later this year or early in 2018.

We have invited people who have already engaged with our stroke review to a number of targeted focus groups taking place across the county. We’re also inviting people to tell us what they think about the evaluation criteria that we are planning to use, via a survey.

You can take part in the survey online. The deadline is 22 August.

Find out more about the stroke review here.

If you’d like to send direct feedback on the stroke review or evaluation criteria being used, or to get a printed copy of the survey, please email dgs.communications@nhs.net