Con­cerns raised over move of stroke ser­vices

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

COUN­CIL­LORS have ex­pressed fears over the im­pact of changes to stroke ser­vices.

The East Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing group (CCG), which funds lo­cal health­care in Mac­cles­field, is plan­ning to re­design stroke re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices.

From Oc­to­ber stroke care will not be pro­vided in the town’s hos­pi­tal but at spe­cial­ist cen­tres like Step­ping Hill and Royal Stoke hos­pi­tal, with re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices of­fer­ing pa­tients treat­ment in their own home.

The shake-up was dis­cussed at a meet­ing of Cheshire East Coun­cil’s health and so­cial care scru­tiny com­mit­tee ear- lier this month. Speak­ing af­ter the meet­ing, Coun­cil­lor Jos Saun­ders, who chairs the com­mit­tee, said spe­cial­ist stroke cen­tres pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in pa­tient out­comes and re­cov­ery, but the move away from Mac­cles­field was an is­sue.

She said: “We have raised our con­cerns in re­la­tion to the ex­tra travel time that will be in­curred by rel­a­tives and car­ers. The CCG ac­cept those con­cerns and is al­ready ex­plor­ing op­tions to mit­i­gate this.”

Coun­cil­lor Bev­er­ley Doo­ley, who rep­re­sents Mac­cles­field cen­tral, shared the con­cern over trans­port, adding: “I did sug­gest they per­haps look into overnight ser­vices. Trans­port is­sues are res­i­dents’ main cause for con- cerns. If this could be ad­dressed, it would al­le­vi­ate un­nec­es­sary anx­i­ety.”

The shake-up is the lat­est change to stroke care in the town. In March 2015 pa­tients started be­ing taken to spe­cial­ist cen­tres instead of Mac­cles­field hos­pi­tal, which still of­fered re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Then in Oc­to­ber, the hos­pi­tal an­nounced it would axe re­hab ser­vices. Since then the CCG has spent £800,000 on en­sur- ing re­hab ser­vices are avail­able un­til this Oc­to­ber when the new sys­tem will be in­tro­duced.

Health bosses claim the re­design will ac­tu­ally in­crease the £3m it spends on stroke care per year, at a time it is bat­tling to plug a £9.7m budget black hole by 2017.

Coun Doo­ley ex­pressed doubt over the CCG’s abil­ity to re­pay the deficit, adding: “They are pre­dict­ing a deficit of £3.8m by the end of the year. But this is on the ba­sis of se­cur­ing £9.7m of sav­ings. I ques­tion the ca­pac­ity to achieve this.

“If they fail to se­cure these sav­ings, then the deficit will be greater by that amount which they have failed. Deficits have ram­i­fi­ca­tions on the fund­ing of ser­vices.”

‘Trans­port is­sues are res­i­dents’ main cause for con­cerns’

●● Cheshire’s chief Con­sta­ble Si­mon Byrne has been hon­oured with the Queen’s Po­lice Medal for his ser­vices to policing

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