Tory MP’s shocking response to concern about Stroke Unit closure

Tory MP’s shocking response to concern about Stroke Unit closure

26th February 2019 3 By Alex Tiffin - @RespectIsVital
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Tory MP and supposed Knight of the Realm Sir Roger Gale, sent a response to a constituent that only be described as contemptuous. Sir Roger had received an email from a constituent who was concerned about the planned closure of the Stoke Unit at the QEQM Hospital in Margate. He responded with a short sharp message blowing them off.

Specialist stroke services in Kent are currently provided at 6 major hospitals across Kent. The local NHS trust however, wants to reduce this to 3.

The trust plan to shut stroke services at The QEQM, Medway Maritime Hospital and Pembury Hospital in favour of three “hyper acute stroke units” in Dartford, Maidstone and Ashford.

A local campain group, Save Our NHS in Kent (SONIK) was established to fight against the planned closures.

Carly Jeffrey, a SONIK member from Margate, previously told Kent Online;

“Stroke sufferers in Thanet will have to travel over an hour to Ashford for treatment, on top of 40 minutes for ambulance delays for 10% of patients.

“This is absolutely unsafe as stroke requires the most urgent attention.

“We must make these GPs understand the dangerous consequences of their decision for the people of Thanet.”

On top of the planned Stroke Unit closure, the trust now wants to close all A&E services in favour of 1 “super A&E” QEQM would again be hit by the planned closure.

Dr Coral Jones, who recentlu spoke at a SONIK meeting said:

“Clinical commissioners have already targeted QEQM’s stroke unit.

“Now they have our accident and emergency department in their sights.

“This means people in Thanet in need of emergency care will face unacceptable journey times to another hospital.

“Lives will be put at risk, people will die.

“We cannot allow this to happen. And the only way we can stop it is through people power.”

MP disregards concern

Alarmed at the planned closure Candy Gregory contacted her local MP for North Thanet, Sir Roger Gale.

She expressed concern about the loss of services at the QEQM and asked to discuss it with him. Seems a fair request given the topic.

Sir Roger however, didn’t seem to agree and responded with a short sharp rebuttal as can be seen below.

“I have noted your view which I do not share.”

This is not the short of response you’d expect from an MP when you’re worried about the closure of such an important service as a stroke unit.

The government’s own advice is to; Act FAST

FAST is the acronym designed to help people identify the signs and symptoms they should look for to identify someone suffering from a stroke:

  • Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • Arm weakness – can the person raise both arms?
  • Speech problems – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • Time to call 999

Fast treatment is essential so waiting for an ambulance, then possibly having to travel an hour to the hospital, clearly presents some risk to the residents of Thanet.

Discussion on the matter should definitely be a priority for any MP affected.

Why Sir Roger has responded like this is unclear. It could be because his party have savaged the NHS with cuts leaving it at breaking point. Then again it could be something else. I’ll let you decide on the reasons.

I contacted his office for comment but had received no reply at the time of publishing.

This is just another example of MPs ignoring constituents concerns. In many cases a response isn’t even sent. In some ways I think that may have been better than what Sir Roger or his office sent.

MPs are becoming more and more out of touch with the people who elect them; us. They’ve become power hungry and believe that their opinion can trump that of their constituents.

It’s unacceptable but unfortunately I don’t see it changing.


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