A public consultation is currently taking place around stroke services in Kent & Medway. The review is proposing to create three new specialist stroke centres in Kent to treat patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the first 72 hours of a stroke.

The public consultation is one part of a very lengthy process which has been going on for several years to review the current service and to explore options for improving that service for the people of Kent and Medway.

Hundreds of members of the public from across Kent have already been involved in this review alongside the Stroke Association and patient groups. Our role at Healthwatch, as set out by statute, is to ensure people have ample opportunity to be involved and informed about any changes to a service. We have been working to ensure peoples’ need and wishes have been collected, gathered and considered.

People are naturally very concerned about any change to a local service. However, it is important to reassure your readers that hundreds of members of the public have already been involved in designing the future of our stroke services alongside stoke doctors and medical professionals.

We were recently asked to submit our view on the stroke review to date. We scrutinised all the evidence which showed how many people have been involved so far from all parts of our community.  We were reassured that so far, the stroke review has adequately and effectively managed a robust and fair review of stroke services and involved local people in a meaningful and constructive way.

You can read our full review on our website www.healthwatchkent.co.uk

We would encourage people to read the consultation documents and make up their own minds. Anyone can submit their views to the stroke consultation either by post, phone or email. All the information can be found at www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/stroke