Rochester and Gillingham MPs Challenge Decision to Reject Medway’s Stroke Unit Bid

Yesterday, I was joined by Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti to meet with the Chair and senior directors of Medway’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss the failure to award Medway Hospital with one of three hyper acute stroke units.

We have made it clear that we cannot accept a decision which does not work in the best interest of the half million residents across Medway and Swale who use Medway Hospital. While it is perfectly acceptable to reconfigure the region’s stroke units from six to three, in order to streamline services and pool valuable expertise, the final decision to reject Medway’s bid is in contrary to where there is greater need and deprivation.

Medway is the fastest growing urban area in the South East outside of London, however we do have significant health inequalities. Our hospital’s already dedicated stroke unit currently deals with over 500 strokes per year; more than any other in the region. It therefore makes no sense for Medway to not only miss out on being a hyper acute stroke unit, but also lose its already strong performing stroke care.

We also share concerns that the procedures taken by the CCGs and decision-makers in coming to this outcome was flawed. There is still no analytical document explaining how the outcome was reached and the anonymous voting method used to make the final decision misses out on the various and important nuances within communities, such as those mentioned above in Medway.

We will therefore work with the key stakeholders to assess all options on the table, including whether a judicial review is viable, as we cannot accept this on behalf of the thousands of residents who rely on vital services at Medway.

Also discussed at the meeting was the future planning of healthcare in Rochester and on the Peninsula and the ongoing issues with some of our struggling GP practices. I am pleased that there is growing support for a seventh healthy living centre on the Peninsula where we are seeing more development but a lack of supporting infrastructure. There are also more positive updates regarding Hoo and Thorndike practices while I am continuing my call for a new practice on the Rochester Riverside development. I will be happy to provide updates to affected residents.