Concerns raised over move of stroke services
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