Statement from the Leader of Medway Council following the announcement of planned temporary emergency changes to Medway NHS Foundation Trust's acute stroke service.
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “We are very sorry to learn that due to staff shortages, Medway NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) is currently unable to continue with its excellent stroke service here in Medway, which is so highly valued. We completely understand that patient safety must come first and the hospital has done a brilliant job over the past three months in providing first class care for the victims of COVID-19 in very difficult circumstances.
“It is because patient safety is paramount in our thinking that we are seeking through the courts to overturn what we believe is a perverse and unjustifiable course of action by the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and will be continuing with our appeal against the decision not to locate one of the three Kent and Medway Hyper Acute Stroke Units here in Medway. We believe that there is a clearly evidenced case and need for our excellent stroke services to continue to be based in Medway. We have a number of deprived areas and these communities tend to have higher stroke admission rates and the Joint CCGs committee and the High Court failed to take these important inequality factors into account appropriately when making their decision. Medway Council is currently putting in place comprehensive and ambitious plans to transform the area and long-term investment is needed to address the causes of health inequality here in Medway.
“The responsibility for any early deaths that result from the closure of the stroke facility at MFT will be laid firmly at the door of the CCG. It seems the staff shortages may have been in part caused by the CCGs decision to run down the stroke facility here in Medway, thereby creating uncertainty amongst staff.”