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Gale's View - 27/02/2019

February 27th 2019


‘The lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got his boots on’.


Much has been said, written, published in the local press, broadcast on local radio and television and peddled on social media about the future of stroke services in East Kent. A great deal of it has been disingenuous, dishonest and in one particular is a downright lie.


There is not, and there never has been, any plan to ‘close’ the stroke Unit at the QEQM hospital in Margate.


The proposal to treat acute stroke patients in a newly created and fully- funded specialist ‘Hyper acute’ unit in Ashford is based upon a hard- nosed and realistic assessment, taken by properly qualified medical professionals, of the best and proven way to provide modern treatment to offer acute stroke patients the greatest chance of life and a good recovery. That unit will, when open, cover a wide area of our County and of East Sussex and it will be large enough to offer the throughput of patients that is necessary to attract both the best consultants and the young trainee doctors that will be the neuro - physicians of tomorrow.


The stroke unit at the QEQM in Margate will, far from being ‘closed’, be upgraded to augment other local hospital and community facilities to at last provide the recovery and rehabilitation services that have been and still are so lamentably lacking in East Kent.


That is not ‘putting lives at risk’. it is a plan to save more lives and to ensure that those who suffer from acute strokes stand the best chance of making a decent recovery rather than ending what remains of their lives in severe disability and indignity. 


Some from outside this area, who are not qualified in either Neurology or cardiology have been afforded far too much attention to their politically motivated opinions. Our local consultant physicians, backed by the Stroke Association, have refuted the myth of the ‘golden hour’ as being not relevant to strokes and support the creation of a specialist centre of excellence in which vital clot- busting drugs can be administered swiftly and other appropriate treatment offered.  


Patients will then be transferred back to the QEQM, the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Herne Bay and other equipped local facilities to receive physiotherapy and rehabilitation close to the friends and family which, again experience has demonstrated, is the model that best assists a good recovery.


Those, and those in the media who are propagating their ill- informed views, who are opposing the Health Services’ proposals are, I believe, not merely playing politics with people’s fears and emotions. They are potentially themselves placing at risk the health and the very lives of some of my constituents.

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