The NHS in Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and West Lancashire has launched a 12-week public consultation about the proposal to establish a Comprehensive Stroke Centre at Aintree University Hospital.
The proposal aims to improve hyper-acute stroke services, which is the hospital care provided in the 72-hour period immediately after someone has a stroke.
In West Lancashire, this applies to residents who would normally travel to Aintree or Southport for stroke treatment. Please note this is separate to the ongoing Lancashire and South Cumbria stroke engagement, which is due to end on Friday 3 December.
Currently, there are hyper-acute stroke services at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Aintree University Hospital, and Southport Hospital. But with local expertise and resources spread across three sites, it can be difficult to ensure that patients get equitable access to the specialist staff, tests, equipment and procedures they need – especially in the critical three days following a stroke.
Local clinicians have developed this proposal for a single, Comprehensive Stroke Centre at Aintree University Hospital. This would bring together local hyper-acute services on the same site as The Walton Centre, which provides a specialist stroke treatment called thrombectomy.
If the changes went ahead, it would mean that in the future all suspected stroke patients would be taken to Aintree Hospital for the first 72-hours of stroke care – even those who may have previously been treated at the Royal Liverpool Hospital or Southport Hospital.
Afterwards, up to half of patients would leave hospital to continue their recovery in their own homes with an early supported discharge team. Those not ready for discharge, would transfer one of three acute stroke rehabilitation units at either Aintree, Broadgreen, or Southport hospitals to continue their recovery.
Dr Claire Cullen, Stroke Consultant, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explains: “We want to give people the best chance of accessing specialist treatments for stroke, as soon as possible within that critical 72-hour window – and that’s what this proposal is all about.
“Many of us know that acting fast is extremely important when it comes to stroke – but this doesn’t just mean getting someone to the nearest hospital; it’s important that they are seen by specialist stroke staff who can provide a diagnosis and make decisions about the best treatment for that individual.
“As well as increasing the use of clot-busting and clot-removing treatments for patients, we also believe that bringing local services together would increase the number of patients who are treated on a specialist stroke ward – all of which can make a massive difference to patient outcomes.”
The proposal does not involve any reduction in the amount of NHS funding spent on stroke care locally – in fact, it would see an increase in investment. This includes an additional one-off investment of £4m to develop the new Comprehensive Stroke Centre at Aintree Hospital, and an extra £1.9m invested into running the service year on year.
Dr Paddy McDonald, Stroke Consultant, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust said: “These proposals have been developed by the people who care for stroke patients every day, and really understand what a long-term difference quick diagnosis and treatment can make to people who have experienced a stroke.
“Some journeys to hospital would take longer but in return for quicker, more joined up care once you arrive with a better outcome for each patient.
“This is an approach that we know has already been shown to improve care for stroke patients in other parts of the country, and we believe that our local population should also have access to the very best quality of care.”
The public can find out more about the proposals for improving hyper-acute stroke services and share their views between 22 November 2021 and 14 February 2022.
Further information and an online questionnaire are available via Liverpool CCG’s website. Those who would prefer to talk through their feedback, can also call (0151) 247 6406 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm). People can also use this number to request a paper version of the questionnaire, or information in a different language or format. They can also do this by texting: 07920 206 386 or emailing: email@example.com
The public consultation is being managed by NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), on behalf of five local CCGs – Knowsley, Liverpool, Southport & Formby, South Sefton, and West Lancashire.
The proposals have been developed by clinicians from the three local NHS Trusts currently involved with providing stroke care for these areas – Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.