By Tristan Harris 16/05 Updated: 23/05 20:53
LOCAL stroke services which are currently split between at Redditch's Alexandra Hospital and the Worcestershire Royal could all be based in Worcester under a controversial proposal to be discussed on Tuesday (May 22).
Although a number of options were outlined for the meeting of the Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), the recommendation is to centralise the services for the whole county in Worcester, removing those now based in Redditch.
Alternatives included keeping the provision the way it is at the moment, split between Redditch and Worcester, and one to move them all to the Alex.
It follows a review of local hospital-based stroke services to see how they could be improved for the whole county.
Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid slammed the decision, saying Redditch would have been a better option than Worcester.
"If stroke services are to be centralised, then the Alexandra Hospital is surely the best option.
"It would build upon local established capacity for stroke care, particularly with the country's first specialist Life After Stroke Centre nearby, and help build a centre of excellence in this field in Worcestershire."
Simon Hairsnape is the Chief Operating Officer for Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group and Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group.
He said the recommendation was made after a very thorough review process involving patients, senior clinicians, GPs and external clinical advisers, who considered a number of different options.
"Their recommended option is that acute stroke services should centralised at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, as this would lead to an improvement in the clinical effectiveness of the service and would reduce the amount of time patients would need to spend in hospital.
“As part of this proposal acute stroke services would no longer be provided by the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, and whilst I understand this may be a cause of concern, we do have a responsibility as a commissioner of healthcare to ensure that the services provided are of the highest quality and demonstrate the greatest clinical effectiveness."
A Stroke Association spokesperson said: "In the last five years, particularly since the introduction of the National Stroke Strategy, Worcestershire has made many improvements to their stroke care pathway and continues to do so – involving statutory and voluntary organisations and stroke survivors."
She said the proposals to provide acute care for the whole county in Worcester had been the result of careful evaluation and would enable the best use of existing resources and provision of specialist acute stroke care to be available 24/7 in an accessible and central location.
She added the overall aim of the changes was to improve the quality of care received by stroke survivors, improve outcomes and reduce the long-term effects for stroke survivors – all aims supported by the Stroke Association.
"It is really vital any person with a possible stroke reaches a specialist unit within four hours to enable the best initial treatment – especially if thrombolysis would be appropriate.
"Similar changes have been made in other parts of England and have resulted in improved outcomes for stroke survivors," she said.
After the proposals have gone before the HOSC on Tuesday (May 22), the Board of NHS Worcestershire will then consider the proposal.
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