Medway Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee met on Tuesday evening (12 March 2019) to consider the decision by doctors from across Kent and Medway to establish hyper acute stroke units at Darent Valley, Maidstone and William Harvey Hospitals. The committee of Medway councillors voted to refer the decision to the Secretary of State for Health and Social care.

Rachel Jones, Director of the Kent and Medway Stroke Review, said: “We are disappointed that Medway Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee has decided to refer the decision on the location of hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for an independent review. 

“We will, of course, comply with any requirements that may arise as a result of the referral, however, this could well have an impact on the speed of implementation of the HASUs across Kent and Medway. Any delay to implementation will inevitably lead to more deaths and more disability than if we are able to go ahead as planned.

“Councillors from the Medway scrutiny committee were involved at every stage of the stroke services review process, including the evaluation of options, which was carried out without naming the units involved to ensure a rigorous and unbiased process.

“Medway NHS Foundation Trust supported the proposals for a hyper acute stroke unit model which will be able to provide expert care, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, reducing patients’ risk of dying in the days after a stroke and minimising their risk of long-term disability. We accept there was disappointment that Medway will not be one of the HASU sites, but the leadership at the trust have committed to working towards the new model.

“While undertaking the stroke review, we considered the health and wellbeing of  the entire population who use Kent and Medway stroke services. We carefully considered population growth, deprivation and travel times to potential hyper acute stroke units. We believe the rigorous process we used and the decision made by local doctors from across Kent and Medway will enable us to best meet the needs of our whole population, and save an extra life every fortnight.”