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City needs stroke unit says health campaigner
2:00am Friday 2nd November 2012 in News
A PATIENT leader says a hyper acute stroke service for Worcester is vital in the new-look NHS as a region-wide review of stroke services continues.
The NHS in the Midlands and East region, which includes Worcester, is reviewing care for those who suffer strokes or transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) which are also called mini-strokes.
The review covers stroke care for adults from pre-hospital care through to rehabilitation/social care and end of life and aims to improve survival rates and reduce disability.
Hyper acute stroke services deal with emergency care within the first 72 hours of a stroke rather than later rehabilitation.
All stroke patients in Worcestershire are currently admitted to A&E and assessed for thrombolysis. If required, they are thrombolysed in A&E and then admitted to the acute stroke unit. If not required, they are admitted directly to the acute stroke unit. There were 718 confirmed stroke admissions in Worcestershire last year and 238 TIA admissions.
Hereford’s stroke services, which treats around 20 per cent of stroke patients from Powys, Wales, are also subject to the review.
Although no formal options have yet been announced, patient representative Brendan Young, of Powick, near Worcester, has been involved in discussions with health chiefs and has been pressing for hyper acute stroke services at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester. “I made it clear that the centralised option for hyper acute stroke services at Worcestershire Royal Hospital was non-negotiable since we have gone through a rigorous, lengthy and sometimes painful process to arrive at that decision earlier this year,” said Mr Young.
“We could not have Worcester not having hyper acute stroke services. In an ideal world Hereford should have a hyper acute stroke service as well,” he said.
The Hereford and Worcester Cardiac and Stroke Network is in talks with local hospital leaders to identify what are the best options to move towards providing the best service possible for stroke patients, but this is still described as a work in progress.
The networks will submit their final recommended proposals to the external expert advisory group, an independent board of experts from a number of disciplines involved in stroke care including consultants, nurses and therapists, in January. Firm plans are scheduled to be submitted in March and by April members of the new NHS Commissioning Board will oversee the review through to its conclusion.