Hello Rebecca, this a little report for SONIK– Save Our NHS In Kent. We are talking about the stroke consultation. We have just been to a meeting today in Broadstairs. We are now in week seven of a ten-week consultation. What do you think the state of play is at the moment? Well, we have come a long way in those seven weeks.
We have managed to force the Kent & Medway trust who are managing the sustainability
and transformation plan to hold additional consultation events, or listening events as
they call them, in Thanet because Thanet was being not only excluded from their plans but also not consulted. So we have managed to force them to the consultation table. We have also managed to force a few concessions on the data that they have been putting out, so the case that they are making or the options that they are presenting within the consultation are five-fold and each of the five options only has William Harvey Hospital in Ashford as the East Kent hospital option. So our hospital – QEQM, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate – isn’t one of the five options. The position of SONIK and the majority of the people in Thanet is that QEQM should be considered as one of the 5 options The reasons they are giving for that aren’t particularly clear. The data that they have allegedly used to draw that conclusion haven’t been published. We’re now told that they do have data that they are going to make publicly available. It remains to be seen whether that conclusively shows that QEQM shouldn’t be one of the sites for the five hospitals – three hospitals rather In fact, three in five is another interesting question that came up in the meeting today. Because we’ve only been given three options. The question is: is three sufficient? Why only three? When we could have capacity for five hospital sites potentially, so it does seem to come down to resources. We know that Kent & Medway is having to trim 450 million pounds from its budget in the next few years. So clearly this is a question of resources as much as it is about common sense. And the point I’d like to make really, my overarching concern is that we have a huge amount of inequality in Thanet More than 50,000 people live in the worst conditions in the country and have really bad health outcomes. So we have a high incidence of stroke here Clearly we need a hospital locally that can deal with stroke . And the health commissioners have a statutory duty to address health inequalities through their provision of services. So it really is a mystery to me still as to why they think moving a hospital away from a deprived area is a good thing. Thank you very much. Can I also ask. What did you think of the mood in the room today? Do you feel that people at the Broadstairs meeting were in favour of the Kent and Medway STP’s plan or not? Absolutely not. I thought there was an air of dissent today. It was very encouraging. The mood was quite animated, verging on hostile, at times. The health commissioners’ plans and ideas weren’t being taken at face value. People were challenging them. The broad consensus was we should keep stroke services and improve them at QEQM Hospital. In fact, one of the people from the floor did a show of hands at one point asking whether we should fight for QEQM to be considered as one of the sites for the new stroke units and Almost universally people put their hands up so I think that is very encouraging. Absolutely! I think I would go so far as to say it is possibly the only people that didn’t put their hands up were possibly the people from the NHS hierachy who happened to be in audience as they facilitated the event. Thank you very much Dr. Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt You’re very welcome!