STRUCTURE: A £400,000 stroke unit has opened at a community hospital in West Kent.

The 12- bedded bespoke stroke rehabilitation unit at the Tonbridge Cottage Hospital opened on 1 September.

It replaces old, prefabricated rehabilitation facilities at the Kent and Sussex Hospital, which will close this month when the new Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury fully opens.

The Pembury site will have an acute stroke unit with eight beds to treat patients in the most acute phase of a stroke episode.

The stroke rehabilitation unit at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital will “bring real improvements in patient care and clinical outcomes, embedded in the local community outside of the inappropriate acute hospital setting”, the trust said in a statement.

It will be supported by a 30 strong team of nurses, healthcare assistants, physio and therapy staff.

Trust chief operating officer Nikki Luffingham said: “This is an excellent example of the integrated ways of working in the NHS.

“Acutely ill stroke patients will be treated in the most modern, state-of-the art hospital in the country. They will then progress to rehabilitation care, overcoming disabilities caused by the stroke and learning to put their life back together, in the new unit at Tonbridge.”

Mark Shepperd, interim director of operations (West) at Kent Community Health NHS Trust, said: “We will be keeping the same number of community beds across west Kent by increasing beds in other community hospitals to accommodate the Stroke Unit.

“We are also looking to add more beds in other wards within the Tonbridge Cottage Hospital site. Many more services are now provided in people’s own homes, which bring benefits to patients, their families, and their carers.”