This month it was announced that Darent Valley Hospital is one of three hospitals in Kent and Medway to have been chosen to have a 24/7 hyper-acute stroke unit.
The announcement by the Stroke Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups means that in future, patients who have stroke, will be taken to one of the three new emergency stroke units based at William Harvey Hospital, Maidstone Hospital and Darent Valley Hospital, here in Dartford.
Stroke services are currently offered at six hospitals but following a five-year review and a widespread consultation involving thousands of people, the decision has been made to introduce the new hyper-acute stroke units.
Following the success of hyper-acute stroke units in other parts of the country, evidence shows the best way to treat stroke patients is at one of these units. The changes will also mean the investment of £40million into stroke services.
When the new units are operational, patients who are having a stroke will be taken to the nearest unit and get the most up-to-date care.
I welcome this decision and I am pleased that Darent Valley Hospital has been chosen to be part of future stroke services.
Currently around 400 stroke patients are treated at Darent Valley Hospital every year with hundreds more being treated for mini strokes. Having this unit in Dartford, along with two others in Kent and Medway, will improve care and reduce disability from a stroke as well as save lives.
Now the decision has been made on where the units will be, it is hoped the new service will be up and running at Darent Valley Hospital and at Maidstone Hospital in a year’s time, with the service starting at William Harvey Hospital the following spring.
As Dartford grows, and as our population gets older, I am pleased that our local hospital will be at the forefront of this new way of treating stroke patients, which will save lives and reduce disabilities.