There are about 280,000 people living in Bexley and 279,999 of them made the
right decision and didn’t go to see James Hunt and his People Overview and
Scrutiny Committee meeting on 29th November. I found it tedious which isn’t to
say it is unimportant but concentrating, as that particular meeting did, on
medical matters does not make it the easiest for a layman to follow.
Blogs of a reasonable length can only report highlights and they were few and far between. As usual the public (that’s me) was herded into a place not well served by the audio system and with poor views of the proceedings. (I wandered around to find the view in the photo.)
Once again I was occasionally reduced to studying socks.
Probably the most interesting report came from Mr. Michael Ridgewell, the Director of NHS stroke services in Kent. More correctly the Programme Director, Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership which is reviewing stroke services in Kent and Medway in which Bexley is included.
Things are not going well, he said “stroke outcomes are poor”.
They are poor because fewer than 50% of patients are admitted within four hours and fewer than 50% receive thrombolysis within the recommended 60 minutes.
Staff shortages make seven day a week working inconsistent across the seven hospitals offering a stroke service.
A significant contributory factor is that with patients spread across seven hospitals none of them receive enough patients to develop the necessary facilities, skills and staffing levels.
A nationally recommended figure is that each unit sees between 500 and 1,500 patients a year. None in Kent reach the 500 admissions threshold. Consolidation is suggested as the solution to the problems which then poses transport problems.
Not for the first time, it was left to Councillor Alan Downing to put the arguments that might be made by a concerned resident.
He was “very disappointed with the paper in front of me. It should be of great concern to everyone representing the residents of Bexley”.
“Having read this paper I am so alarmed that decisions are going to be put forward to the NHS on 22nd [month coughed over!] and I do not know anything about this, I don’t think anyone in this room knows anything about it.”
“Someone is jumping the gun. It is not good enough. I am so concerned, [bad] timing can put that person back for life.”
“Here we are saying that it is only 27,000 people over 70 in Bexley who might have a stroke, you can’t just sit there and say I am sorry but we are going to do this and we are going to do that. I am very concerned that it has come this far without consultation. We should have a full blown consultation.”
“Thanet is one of your worst areas [for strokes] and it will be nowhere near any [stroke] hospital if this programme goes ahead. Stroke is something to be dealt with efficiently and fastly, don’t give me a programme which tells me we are going to have only three centres. People in Bexley will not be able to get to Ashford in time to deal with a stroke. Every morning there are problems on the A2 and M25. It doesn’t make sense.”
“Get this sorted out. I am not happy at all. Go back to zero and start all over again.”
Councillor Eileen Pallen insisted that ambulance timings on blue lights must be measured.
Now if you will excuse me I am off to Newham Hospital where an old lady is slowly recovering from near death due to neglect by her named doctor (Goodyear, Wordsworth Surgery, Newham) who has never ever seen her and who has failed to conduct the required six monthly thyroid check. It was last done in June 2015 during a routine hospital visit but the GP prescribed the wrong dose. Only a third of what it should have been. The endocrinologist has said that those mistakes will have caused most of the confusion evident over the past year or two.