Stroke is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK and the eight Clinical Commissioning Groups who are responsible for commissioning health services within the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership have approved an unparalleled investment to enhance acute stroke and rehabilitation services across the region.
For residents of West Lancashire, this is applicable to people who would usually travel to Royal Preston Hospital for stroke-related services.
The business case, which identified the areas where the region’s acute stroke centres needed developing to bring them up to the level of the best acute stroke services in the country, called for an investment of £19.5 million (£13.8 million of which is year on year expenditure) and was supported by stroke survivors and their carers, the Stoke Association and stroke specialists at local and national levels.
Health and care partners are keen to hear people’s views on the enhancements in facilities, equipment, specialist staff and processes which will take three years to implement and will contribute significantly to a reduction in patients dying or having severe disabilities from a stroke.
A period of public engagement is now being launched to inform the wider public of the enhanced services that will be put in place and to ask for feedback on any issues or concerns that people may have about its implementation.
Andrew Bennett, Interim Chief Officer for Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership said: “Our ambition is to deliver clinically sustainable, high quality ‘A-rated’ acute stroke services that are accessible to all Lancashire and South Cumbria residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“Evidence shows that rapid specialist assessment and intervention in the hyper acute phase (the first 72 hours after a stroke) reduces mortality and improves long term outcomes for stroke patients. Our stroke specialists and patients, along with NHS England and national stroke specialists, agree that our enhanced model of acute stroke and rehabilitation services is now required in Lancashire and South Cumbria and that the proposals that have been agreed will deliver this going forward.”
Cath Curley, Clinical Director of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Stroke and Neurorehabilitation Delivery Network (ISNDN) programme, said: “We have been working with stroke survivors, carers, the Stroke Association, with stroke specialist staff in hospital and community settings, and with many others, to identify what needed to change and what would provide the best possible service for all our stroke patients, wherever they live. The enhanced model of care we have identified will provide:
- 3 Acute Stroke Centres accessible 24 hours, 7 days a week
- Robust stroke specialist triage and ambulatory care within each hospital A&E
- Appropriate ambulance cover for patient transfers and repatriation
- 7-day in-patient stroke rehabilitation service
- Integrated community stroke rehabilitation service available 7 days a week
Challenges remain and the journey isn’t over. We now need to implement the proposals identified in the business case and it is important that the general public know about our plans and can give us their feedback on any concerns that they may have so we can address these as we implement the improvements.”
The enhancements to acute stroke centres will improve the patient journey and increase the opportunities for thrombolysis and thrombectomy, the life-saving urgent treatments available at the specialist stroke centre in Royal Preston Hospital. Stroke patients need to be treated in as short a time as possible from when they first have their stroke symptoms to get the best benefit from these treatments. This will also reduce the number of patients discharged with preventable levels of disability, including physical, speech and cognitive impairments.
To discover more about the enhanced acute stroke centres and the benefits these will provide, and to take up the opportunity of providing feedback on their implementation, people can get involved by going to the dedicated webpage.