More than 800 local people have had their say so far on the proposals to improve hospital-based stroke services in West Sussex. However, there is still time for people have their say.
There has been a good response from stroke survivors, carers, NHS staff and local residents, but the NHS is still keen to hear from as many people as possible.
The 12-week public consultation on the proposals, which began on 27 January, and closes this Friday 21 April.
Clinicians from stroke services, general practice and the ambulance service have been working together for the past few years to lead a review into the current service and identify the improvements needed.
The NHS in Sussex has used these findings together with evidence and feedback from health care professionals to help develop proposals for an Acute Stroke Centre (ASC) to be developed at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, which is led by University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Rajen Patel, a consultant stroke physician at Worthing Hospital said: “Stroke care is a fast-moving specialty and national best practice guidance has changed so patients receive better treatment that saves more lives and reduces long-term disabilities.
“Across the country, there has been a move to a smaller number of more specialist hospital centres that provide access to expert stroke doctors, nurses and therapists 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Currently, we run two smaller stroke wards at Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester that provide good care, but they’re not big enough to meet all the new standards.
“Our proposal would address this and ensure everyone in West Sussex could access an improved stroke centre by ambulance, staffed by the right specialists, day and night.
“We know this would save lives and improve outcomes for the people we care for.”
Currently, there are stroke services at both St Richard’s Hospital and Worthing Hospital but neither are 24/7. Under the proposal, Worthing Hospital would no longer be a stroke receiving unit, but working together as a network, St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and the Comprehensive Stroke Centre at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton would ensure everyone in West Sussex is within a 60-minute ambulance journey to a stroke centre staffed by the right specialists, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The proposed improvements are also needed to ensure the NHS is meeting national guidelines for the treatment of stroke, designed to ensure better prevention, treatment and care for anyone who experiences a stroke in the coastal area of West Sussex.
Over the last 11 weeks, teams leading the proposals have been out to speak with many local people and communities across West Sussex and Brighton and Hove. This has included attending more than 65 local community events attended, face to face and virtual engagement events with members of the public, stroke survivors, carers, community and voluntary sector organisations, and stakeholders. Through this work, the NHS has heard from many people and had discussions on what people feel the potential change will mean to them and their communities.
Dinesh Sinha, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Sussex said:
“I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to share their views on the proposed improvements to stroke services in West Sussex. Your feedback will help us to shape the best possible hospital based stroke services for local people and our communities. With the consultation ending on Friday 21 April, I encourage anyone who has not yet had their say to do so before it’s too late.
“Our aim is to ensure that everyone in West Sussex has access to high-quality stroke care, 24/7, with the right specialists on hand to provide the best possible treatment. These improvements are vital for meeting national guidelines and for ensuring better prevention, treatment, and care for stroke patients. Thank you again for your support and engagement.”
There is still time to make sure you have your say on the proposals to improve hospital-based stroke services in West Sussex. All the details on how to give feedback can be found at: Improving stroke services in West Sussex – Sussex Health and Care.