15 FEB 2018

Hyper acute stroke units

Kent Messenger Column 15-02-18

A dear friend and political mentor of many years was due to come for tea and a chat one summer's afternoon not so long ago. We'd spoken the day before and she was looking forward to hearing all the news from Maidstone and The Weald and Westminster.

Uncharacteristically she failed to show up and I received a call later that day to learn that Joan was gravely ill in hospital, after suffering a catastrophic stroke. I remain ever grateful that I had a chance to see her before she passed away a few hours later, but many are not afforded that last opportunity.

Stroke kills around 32,000 people in England every year. It's also the largest single cause of severe disability and the first 72 hours are vital in providing effective treatment to save lives and reduce long-term damage. Presently resources are spread thinly across the county with many hospitals struggling to meet best practice standards. Thus, I welcomed the news that the NHS in Kent & Medway are to create three new 'hyper acute' stroke units (HASUs).

These specialist units are based on a model that has been operating in eight locations across London since 2010 that have saved almost 100 stroke patients, every year, who would otherwise have died under standard hospital treatment.

The new facilities should reduce costs and alleviate pressure on the NHS by shortening hospital stays, reducing A&E admissions and mitigating long term care needs. The project will also bring £40m of investment and many new specialist jobs to our County.

The shortlist of locations for the three new HASUs indicate that there is an 80% chance that one of them will be based in either Maidstone Hospital or Pembury, and either would be great for Maidstone & The Weald. The Kent and Medway NHS public consultation seeks your views and runs until midnight 13-04-18. Visit the wesbite for more.

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