Patients will be “desperately let down” by a transformation of the way stroke sufferers are treated in Kent, according to a county councillor, after his colleagues gave the go ahead for the NHS to close three hospital units.
Stroke centres in Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Medway, will be closed following the decision by members of the Kent County Council health overview and scrutiny committee.
Councillors narrowly passed a motion to build three specialist hyper-acute stroke units in Maidstone Hospital, Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, and William Harvey Hospital, in Ashford, to treat patients across the county.
However the committee outlined concerns that closing the stroke units in Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Medway could impact travel times, staffing levels over the long-term and increase inequalities.
Six councillors voted against the plans to accept the reconfiguration, including former Swale Borough Council leader Andrew Bowles.
He said: “There has been a continual drift towards downgrading services to the east end of the county.
“I cannot be convinced of this even though I would like to do what is right for the majority of my residents.”