England

Kent and Medway stroke 'hyper-acute' units planned

Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford Image copyright PA
Image caption Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford is one of the options being considered for a hyper-acute stroke unit

Stroke centres across Kent and Medway could close and be replaced by three new "hyper-acute" units, health bosses are proposing.

Kent's eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have issued plans to replace three of the six existing units with specialist units.

The CCGs said the units would "allow people to get the best possible care in the vital first few hours".

The plans will go out for public consultation in February.

In a statement, the CCGs said: "These changes will affect every hospital in our area and residents in every part of Kent and Medway, and some beyond our boundaries in Bexley in south-east London and High Weald, Lewes and Haven in East Sussex."

Deaths 'reduced'

The replacement of the six stroke centres in hospitals in Kent and Medway will mean 98% of people will live within an hour's ambulance journey from one of the new hyper-acute units, the CCGs sad.

"These new ways of working have been introduced in other parts of the country and are bringing significant benefits to patients. In London, hyper acute stroke units have reduced deaths from stroke by nearly 100 a year," the commission groups said.

Five possible options for the hyper-acute units have been announced:

  • Darent Valley Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  • Darent Valley Hospital, Maidstone Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  • Maidstone Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  • Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  • Darent Valley Hospital, Tunbridge Wells Hospital and William Harvey Hospital

Dr Diana Hamilton-Fairley, Medical Director at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: "What is most important is getting to a specialist unit after a stroke for your assessment and treatment, even if that means taking longer to get there and the ambulance bypassing your nearest hospital."