ALL STROKE patients will be sent to Coventry and beds removed from hospitals in Warwickshire under plans to reform services.
Proposals by Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) have revealed patients from across the area will be sent to University Hospital Coventry (UHCW) for immediate treatment, with the majority then receiving care at home.
The 12 ‘acute’ emergency stroke beds at Warwick Hospital, and 18 beds at Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital would be removed and patients instead sent to UHCW.
The Coventry hospital would have its acute beds increased from 30 to 31, and ‘hyper acute’ beds doubled to 12.
After around three days the majority of patients are ready to leave emergency care, but under new proposals this will mostly be carried out in the community.
Rugby St Cross would lose its six community rehabilitation beds while Leamington Rehabilitation Hospital would see an increase of one, taking its total to 21.
George Eliot would have ten rehabilitation beds. It previously had none.
People from across Coventry and Warwickshire could be sent to stay in any of the beds depending on availability.
The community rehabilitation beds are expected to be used by around 30 per cent of stroke sufferers, while the rest will receive care at home or no further support.
The proposals are expected to cost the CCGs a combined £4million extra a year, taking the total spent on stroke care to £19million. It will also see some 60 extra staff employed to provide the services.
But the CCG say change is needed as care is not consistent across the area and the local NHS is currently missing some targets.
This includes just 13 per cent of patients at one hospital being scanned for strokes within an hour – compared to the national average of 52 per cent.
The time it takes to admit a stroke patient in the area is more than six hours – nearly double the national average.
A CCG spokeswoman said: “The future pathway considerably improves the quality of outcomes and clinical care and removes the current significant unwarranted variation in access to care provision across Coventry and Warwickshire.”
Bosses say by improving services some 230 strokes could be prevented over the next three years. Around 1,200 people suffered strokes in the region last year.
But other health care providers in the region, along with stroke patients and support groups, are concerned at the travel times for patients along with their families and carers.
The CCG says it will offset this by changing bus routes, offering a cheaper bus pass and publicising voluntary car travel schemes.
Other concerns included parking at UHCW, loss of rehabilitation beds in Rugby and availability of staff to recruit for the new model.
The spokeswoman added: “Under the new model, all patients across Coventry and Warwickshire will be seen
more promptly and in the right place by specialist skilled professionals, where they will receive the highest quality care.
“There will be no inequality of access to the appropriate specialist care. A consistent stroke service will be in place across all of Coventry and Warwickshire, removing the current inequity of access to services. ”
A consultation runs until January 21. Visit www.strokecovwarks.nhs.uk/Home for details.