Suffolk: Big step forward for stroke service which will benefit patients


- Credit: PA

A scheme designed to allow stroke victims to return home from hospital earlier came one step closer to reality yesterday after it was approved by Suffolk’s two clinical commissioning groups.

Seven-day-a-week stroke services are set to be launched in the county as of January 6 next year, which will include West Suffolk and Ipswich Hospitals accepting emergency patients 24/7.

As part of a review into stroke services, led by the Ipswich and East and West Suffolk CCGs, a commitment was also made to invest in an early supported discharge Service (ESD).

The ESD service will provide a rehabilitation package to acute stroke patients, giving them access to physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapy and dieticians.

The CCGs held their respective monthly meetings this week and both agreed to move forward with the plan and approved the start of a procurement process for the service.

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP a GP at Stowhealth in Stowmarket and chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, said: “The decision to commission improved stroke services will deliver real benefit to around 1,000 patients who suffer an acute stroke each year.

“It is important that those patients get the best possible care so they have the best chance of a full recovery.”

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Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of the NHS West Suffolk CCG, added: “The engagement exercise delivered valuable input which has helped us design an efficient early supported service which puts patients and their family and carers at the forefront.”

The news has been welcomed by Healthwatch Suffolk, which gathered views of patients on the new service.

The organisation’s chief executive, Annie Topping, said: “We are pleased that the CCGs have worked with us to seek and listen to the views of patients and family carers in the county, and we will continue to ensure that patients are at the heart of commissioning decisions in Suffolk.”