High Court rules in favour of shake-up of stroke services in Kent

Health campaigners are vowing to 'fight on' after the High Court ruled in favour of a shake-up of stroke services in Kent.

There are currently six centres which treat those who have suffered a stroke.

The ruling now means the NHS will establish three specialist centres in Ashford, Dartford and Maidstone.

As a result, the QEQM Hospital in Margate will lose its stroke unit.

NHS managers say the move will improve stroke survival and recovery rates across the county, but opponents say it will leave some patients facing a longer journey to undergo treatment.

The NHS says it wants to create three 'hyper acute' stroke units that give round-the-clock specialist care.

The ruling has the backing of one of Thanet's MPs, Sir Roger Gale.

There has been some local opposition to the newly approved shake-up.

Campaigners in Thanet say they could face an hours journey to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

Director of Kent and Medway Acute Stroke Services Review, Rachel Jones, says that even with an extra hour of travel time, 'the care and outcome for patients will be improved'.

Carly Jeffrey, a vocal opponent of these plans, says campaigners will look at appealing the decision.

The Medway Health Committee has referred the plans to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock who is yet to make a decision.