Judge to Examine Legality Of Plan To Shut ‘Vital Service’
A Kent woman’s campaign to prevent the closure of a stroke unit in Thanet is being taken to the High Court.
Marion Keppel was one of a number of local people left devastated following a decision made by a Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (JCCCG) in Kent and the surrounding area to close the acute stroke unit at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate. It would be replaced by a so-called ‘hyper acute stroke unit’ in Ashford, which is more than an hour away from the Thanet area.
The decision led Marion and her supporters to instruct Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law and Human Rights team to investigate the situation. Last month, lawyers applied for a judicial review challenging the legality of the decision.
The case will be heard in the High Court, in the autumn.
Expert Opinion“Marion and fellow campaigners expressed genuine concerns that the decision to close the stroke unit at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital had been reached unlawfully and unfairly, without a thorough consultation considering the views of the local residents.
There are a number of factors regarding this move that have worried Marion, most importantly being the implications it could have on the local community and the health of the people, especially those requiring urgent care having to travel over an hour for treatment.
We have submitted to the Court on Marion’s behalf that the JCCCG’s did not lawfully consult with local people, nor did they properly understand the implications of this decision when it was taken.
We welcome the High Court’s decision to hear Marion’s case and will continue to support Marion throughout the process.”
Alex Rook - Partner
Marion lives just a 10 minute drive from the QEQM.
She said: “I attend hospital regularly and have no doubt that the closure of the stroke unit in Margate will have a devastating effect on me and many others.
“It is a vital service and having the nearest stroke unit located more than an hour away is simply unacceptable.
“Our case being taken to the High Court is great news and hopefully this will ultimately lead to the decision being reconsidered.”
Cllr Karen Constantine, who sits on the Kent HOSC Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee added: “It’s so daunting for an individual to tackle a huge issue and important like this. I’m so proud and inspired by Marion who has taken on the enormous task which would benefit thousands of Thanet residents and show the NHS our community will not be silent when vital services are removed. I will continue to fully support her.”