Bid to down­grade stroke ser­vices

Coventry Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By CLAIRE HAR­RI­SON AND KA­T­RINA CHILVER News Re­porters

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.sur­vey­mon­ NHSstroke­ser­vices or re­quest a hard copy by calling 0121 611 0231.

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