Specialist stroke units for two local hospitals

Two local hospitals have been chosen to host new, £ multi million hyper-acute stroke units.

NHS leaders have determined that the best outcomes for stroke patients in Kent will be achieved by creating three new hyper-acute stroke units at Maidstone, William Harvey and Darent Valley Hospital – alongside acute stroke units.

This is good news for patients who suffer strokes in Kent. You’re more likely to recover from a stroke if you’re treated in a super-specialist stroke unit, even if it means travelling a bit further to get to the right hospital.

The proposals made by the NHS for the locations of these stroke units make sense. Maidstone already has an excellent stroke service so this will develop that, and is accessible for many patients across West and Mid Kent.

One of the options under consideration was to remove stroke services from both Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals, which would have been a great loss to the area, so this is the right choice.

A new hyper-acute stroke unit at William Harvey hospital makes sense on the East Kent side. This comes with the recognition that if we do get a major new hospital in Canterbury then the stroke unit will move there. As that could be several years off, it’s right that these changes are going ahead because the longer the wait, the more lives may be lost unnecessarily.

Some people will be disappointed if their nearest hospital hasn’t been chosen, but it’s simply not possible to have hyper-acute units in every hospital. By moving to this system with fewer, more specialised stroke units, lives will be saved and more people who suffer strokes will recover to live life to the full afterwards.

No formal decision about the configuration of stroke services has yet been taken, but this has been identified as the preferred option. There will now be a public consultation and work on potential future implementation of this option.