Suffolk: Health chiefs join new board to fight for emergency stroke care

Health reporter Lizzie Parry with Hollie Rae Merrick counting the Save our Stroke Care petitions

Health reporter Lizzie Parry with Hollie Rae Merrick counting the Save our Stroke Care petitions - Credit: Archant

A new board has been set up to fight for Suffolk’s emergency stroke care.

Health chiefs from Ipswich Hospital, West Suffolk Hospital, the two clinical commissioning groups, the East of England Ambulance Service will sit on the project board alongside patients and members of the community.

The formation of the board, which will meet for the first time on Thursday, marks the next step in a regional stroke review, which aims to create several hyper acute stroke units (HASU) across East Anglia.

That process could see Ipswich Hospital miss out on establishing itself as a centre of excellence, resulting in some stroke patients having to travel to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge or Colchester Hospital for emergency treatment.

Experts recognise a stroke patient’s chances of survival and recovery are greatly improved if they are treated at a HASU – following a successful review of stroke care in London and Manchester.

But in Ipswich and east Suffolk the support for a HASU at Ipswich has been overwhelming, with patients paying tribute to the exemplary care they have received from the stroke team at the hospital.

In total more than 6,600 petitions have been signed by members of the public backing this paper’s Save Our Stroke Care campaign.

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A spokeswoman for Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “We can confirm that a project board has been established to implement our commissioning strategy.

“It is chaired by the CCG chief officer with patient representation, hospital, ambulance and community input.”

As part of the review, which began last July, an Expert External Advisory Group is understood to be set to suggest three options for Suffolk patients:

– HASUs, providng emergency treatment, at Addenbrooke’s and Colchester with acute services, for rehabilitation, at Ipswich and West Suffolk

– A HASU at Ipswich with acute services at Colchester and West Suffolk

– HASUs at Ipswich and Colchester with an acute service at West Suffolk

The CCG spokeswoman stressed decisions about the future of emergency stroke care in Suffolk have not yet been made.

– To add your name to the petition download an online form from the Save Our Stroke Care page and send it back to us at Press House, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.