Greg has responded positively to the consultation on Kent & Medway's Stroke Review which proposes a radical overhaul of local stroke services.
The proposal is to open three hyper-acute specialist stroke units across the county operating 24 hours a day, 365 day a year. Apart from emergency treatment, the new stroke units would also provide specialist rehabilitation which is vitally important for patients' long-term recovery and transient ischaemic attack (TIA) – "mini-stroke" – clinics operating 7 days a week.
Five options for the location of the specialist stroke units are proposed in the consultation.
"Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability in the UK – there are around 32,000 stroke-related deaths in England each year and 3,000 patients are treated for stroke each year in Kent & Medway hospitals so it is a very important health issue for us all.
"Successful treatment relies on speed – the shorter the time between the stroke and treatment, the greater the chance of reducing damage to brain tissue. The medical saying goes "time lost is brain lost".
"Establishing hyper-acute specialist stroke units operating 24/7 has been applied years ago in other countries, with great success, and more recently in other parts of the UK so I strongly support the proposal to set up three specialist stroke units across Kent & Medway.
"Looking at the options presented in the consultation, the best travel times are provided by Option D which includes Medway Maritime, William Harvey and Tunbridge Wells hospitals. As this option also comes out top in terms of the quality of care assessment, I think it offers the greatest potential for improving local stroke services.
"There is no question that these improvements are needed and I have urged the NHS authorities to implement the changes as quickly as possible once a final decision has been taken."