Improving Stroke Care
The NHS in East and North Hertfordshire is proposing major changes in specialist stroke care and are intending to develop a specialist stroke unit, known as a Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit, which will treat patients for the first few days after their stroke. These changes will affect patients across East Herts but more particularly Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth. This is due to the fact that the specialist centre will be based in the Lister Hospital, Stevenage.
This will have a major impact upon local people here in Bishop’s Stortford as it means that those suffering a stroke will be taken to the Lister rather than Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. The local NHS accept that this means that an ambulance will have to transport patients further but insist that evidence has shown that in those parts of the country where this already happens, it has saved lives.
The NHS recognise that those patients living in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth will experience increased ambulance journey times but are convinced that this will be of benefit to those suffering. These changes are based upon evidence which shows that stroke patients make better recoveries if they are taken to a specialist stroke centre which will have the equipment and experienced staff to treat them, whatever time of day or night their stroke occurs.
Despite a longer initial journey from Bishop’s Stortford , patients will have faster 24/7 access to specialist staff, brain scans and other treatment by coming straight to a hyper-acute specialist service. Paramedics will be monitoring their condition during their journey to hospital and will pass all this onto the unit.
Whilst it would obviously be more convenient for many local people to be treated at PAH, currently they only treat 400 stroke patients a year which means that it cannot provide the full range of expertise to develop the level of specialism required. West Essex NHS, who are responsible for PAH, have decided to develop Chelmsford Hospital as their Hyper-Acute Unit.
For those who would like to comment on the proposals there is an online form on East and North Herts NHS website via this link.
For West Essex’s plans go to this site.