Hearing Took Place At High Court This Week
A Kent woman is awaiting the outcome of a campaign to prevent the closure of a stroke unit in Thanet after it was heard at the High Court this week.
Ramsgate resident Marion Keppel was one of a number of 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.
The plan is to replace it with a so-called ‘hyper acute stroke unit’ in Ashford, which is more than an hour away from the Thanet area.
Marion instructed specialist Public Law and Human Rights lawyers at national firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate.
The legal experts applied for a judicial review challenging the legality of the decision after none of the options put forward for public consultation included stroke services at QEQM. The High Court hearing was held between 3 and 5 December, and the outcome will be known after Christmas
Expert Opinion“When the decision was made to close the stroke unit, Marion and many others were deeply concerned that there hadn’t been a fair and thorough consultation to consider the views of the local residents.
While we were pleased that Marion and others have now had their voices heard on this issue, we once again call on the clinical commissioning groups to work with campaigners to find a solution which will benefit all patients in the area.
In the meantime, we will continue to support Marion throughout the legal process.”
Alex Rook - Partner
Marion lives within a 10-minute drive of the QEQM and attends the hospital for most of her medical appointments. She lives with Type 2 diabetes and is at high risk of suffering a stroke.
She said: “I am one of many people that have been left devastated after hearing the stroke unit at Thanet is to close. I attend hospital regularly and I dread to think how much harder my life would be without this facility.
“I am grateful the case was heard at the High Court and I sincerely hope that the decision to close the unit will be reconsidered.”
Marion’s County Councillor Karen Constantine set up a crowd fund-raising account to help raise the money for the case to be put before the court. Cllr Constantine sits on the Kent Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and has fought against the closure of the stroke unit at QEQM.