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Working towards excellent stroke care in Kent and Medway

The consultation on the future of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway closed on 20 April 2018.

We would like to thank everyone who took part, and contributed their views. For more information, please visit the stroke consultation website.

The consultation is overseen by the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups for Kent and Medway Hyper Acute and Acute Stroke Services, which has delegated authority from 10 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs): the eight CCGs in Kent and Medway, NHS Bexley CCG, and NHS High Weald Lewes Havens CCG.

The public consultation was based on work in partnership by all eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Kent and Medway to review acute stroke services. The review started in 2014 in response to national evidence, requirements, and recommendations specifically for ‘hyper-acute' and 'acute' stroke care - in particular, the need for a specialist stroke unit to be available seven days a week.

The review focused throughout on best clinical practice to improve outcomes for patients, particularly in the first 72 hours after a stroke.  

Developing the proposals

In developing the proposals, there was a rigorous process to review how urgent stroke services could be organised. The process involved stroke doctors, nurses, therapists and other stroke specialists, along with stroke survivors, carers and the public. They considered how many hyper acute stroke units would be needed in Kent and Medway and what combinations of existing hospitals could deliver the best access to patients, quality of care, and ability to recruit and retain staff, as well as many other factors. The shortlist of possible options for the location of hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway was based on this work.

Stroke survivors, their families and carers, and members of the public played a key part in shaping potential future models of care. Varied, robust and in-depth engagement took place to gather people’s views and insight.  This included surveys, focus groups, listening events and clinical engagement events.

In November and December 2015, three in-depth deliberative events, ‘People’s Panels’, looked in detail at the case for change, and questioned and challenged the proposals for improving future stroke care. They also voted on different aspects of services - establishing what they, as patients and carers, value most. 

In September and October 2016, there was a further series of events involving people who have had a stroke, their carers, and members of the public.  Healthwatch Kent and Stroke Association quizzed Dr Hargroves and the then Programme Director Oena Windibank, commissioners and representatives from other organisations including the ambulance service and public health, about the work to date.


Cost

Making the changes proposed in the consultation would require up to £40million investment in building work and equipment at hospitals and for recruiting more staff across the county, but experience from elsewhere shows it costs less overall when patients are treated in hyper acute stroke units. This is because, when more patients can leave hospital sooner, and with less disability, they need less support in the long-term.

Symptoms of stroke

Public Health England’s Act F.A.S.T. stroke campaign urges the public to call 999 if they notice even one of the signs of a stroke in themselves, or in others:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time – time to call 999

For further information, please visit www.nhs.uk/actfast

Useful links