1. ITV Report

Campaigners protest against changes to stroke services

Campaigners protest against changes to stroke services Photo: ITV Meridian

Campaigners have taken to the streets of Margate to save the stroke unit at the town's hospital. They marched passed the QEQM before holding a rally.

The NHS has proposed creating three large specialist centres in Kent - replacing the current six smaller hospital units. Medical teams and charities have welcomed the plans saying expert treatment and care would be provided round the clock.

But those against say it will be detrimental for people having to travel to Ashford for treatment.

"There is overwhelming evidence that our proposals to create a new hyper acute stroke unit in Ashford would save lives and reduce disability for the people of Thanet and the rest of east Kent.

"With stroke, what counts is getting the right treatment from specialist staff, whatever time of day or day of the week it is.

"It is better to travel an hour in an ambulance to a specialist unit where your treatment starts in 30 minutes, than to spend 15 minutes in an ambulance and wait three hours in A&E.

"Our proposals recommend Ashford as the right place for the hyper acute stroke unit because it has the full range of services that are desirable for a hyper acute stroke unit and it can be reached in less than 61 minutes from everywhere in East Kent."

– NHS spokesperson