Following a meeting from the Kent Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Friday 22 March 2019, Rachel Jones, Director of the Kent and Medway Stroke Review, said: “We are disappointed that the Kent Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) are questioning whether the decision taken by Kent doctors to establish hyper acute and acute stroke units in Dartford, Maidstone and Ashford is in the best interest of the health service in the area.

“Councillors from the Kent scrutiny committee were involved at every stage of the stroke services review, as part of a Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee formed with the three other councils impacted by the review. In February, this Joint HOSC voted to support the NHS decision to establish three hyper acute stroke units at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Maidstone Hospital and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

“The three hospital trusts in Kent, as well as our senior stroke consultants, support the plans for three hyper acute stroke units which will be able to provide expert care, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This will reduce patients’ risk of dying in the high-risk days after a stroke and minimise their risk of long-term disability. We believe our plans will enable us to best meet the needs of our whole population and save an extra life every fortnight.

“We will, of course respond to the areas of concern raised by the Kent HOSC, however this could 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.”