Suffolk: GPs pledge to fight for stroke services

Mark Shenton, chairman of Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG

Mark Shenton, chairman of Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG - Credit: Archant

GP health chiefs in Suffolk have vowed to work together to create a specialist stroke centre in the county.

The Stroke Review Project Board, set up as part of a regional review into services, met for the first time last week bringing together GPs from Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as well as the chief executives of Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals and patient groups.

The regional reorganisation of stroke care, launched last July, could see the county’s hospitals miss out on creating a hyper acute stroke unit (HASU), meaning some stroke patients would have to travel to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge or Colchester.

Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of IESCCG said: “At the meeting we discussed our intentions to commission hyper acute and acute services from both Ipswich and West Suffolk hospital.

“We are also determined to ensure that community health services provide a seamless complement to acute stroke care services.”

“Over the next 12 months we will be working on a series of local research projects. It is also vitally important that local people have input into the design of stroke services and we will be launching an engagement campaign later in the year. The Stroke Association and Healthwatch Suffolk are closely involved in the work being undertaken.”

Since launching the paper’s Save our Stroke Care campaign more than 6,000 people have added their names to a petition demanding emergency stroke care is kept in the county.

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Dr Christopher Browning, chairman of WSCCG, added: “The CCGs want to commission stroke services that deliver the best possible outcome for patients, as well as making good use of resources at Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals and deliver value for money for the taxpayer.”

Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for health, Dr Alan Murray welcomed the step.

“This news gives stroke patients and their families a reason to celebrate,” he said. “The details will have to be hammered out at hospital level and we don’t know yet when a decision will be made.

“But it is great to see such support from the public and GPs.”

– To sign the petition visit the Save Our Stroke Services campaign page on this website