Bid to downgrade stroke services
PROPOSALS have been unveiled to downgrade stroke services at Nuneaton’s hospital.
A draft outline of what health bosses had in mind for stroke services across Coventry and Warwickshire was released in December – but now the plans have been made clearer.
If the proposals go ahead the acute stroke service at George Eliot Hospital would become a 20-bed rehabilitation service, meaning stroke patients would have to travel to Coventry for treatment.
The George Eliot currently has an acute stroke unit with 18 beds plus one assessment bed.
There is already a hyper-acute care unit at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, which is designed to treat patients for the first three days following a stroke.
Acute stroke care, which is currently available at the George Eliot, is for patients’ care for the remaining days while stroke is the main health issue.
NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) stress that the proposal is about saving lives, and follows national best practice.
The first draft of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which is looking to bridge a £250million funding gap across Coventry and Warwickshire, was released in December and included proposals for stroke care across the region.
The plans confirmed a review of the “sustainability” of under-pressure emergency care at George Eliot Hospital and UHCW, while also highlighting the potential need for capital to “right size” the A&E department in Coventry due to “GEH and UHCW collaboration activity”.
STP chief, Prof Andy Hardy, insisted no decision has been made over the future of A&E and maternity services at George Eliot as part of the process.
The 62-page STP report was slammed as “opaque,” “incomprehensible” and “secretive”.
Seven months on, no further details have been released about plans for A&E and maternity services.
The plans for stroke care also include closing the acute stroke service at Warwick Hospital and there will be 12 beds for the hyper acute stroke unit and 31 beds for the acute stroke unit at University Hospital Coventry.
Dr David Spraggett, GP and chairman of NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This pro- posal is first and foremost about saving lives.
“Evidence shows that patients are more likely to survive and have the best chance of recovering the greatest level of independence after a stroke if treated in a specialist centre.
“The proposal is, therefore, to have the specialist acute centre for stroke services at University Hospital in Coventry, where there is already a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit.
“The acute stroke service at George Eliot Hospital would become a rehabilitation service with 20 beds for patients from North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Coventry and Rugby.”
A consultation seeking patients’ views on how the proposal would affect them is now open and will end on July 16.
■To take part in the consultation go to www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ NHSstrokeservices or request a hard copy by calling 0121 611 0231.