Time is running out to have your say on a proposal to change the way in-hospital stroke care is provided for the people living in Chichester, Arun, Worthing, Adur and south of Horsham.
A new Acute Stroke Centre at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester is being proposed, working together with the Comprehensive Stroke Centre in Brighton. Under the plans, which are the subject of a public consultation until 21 April 2023, Worthing Hospital would no longer receive emergency stroke admissions.
In the remaining few weeks, the NHS in Sussex is particularly to hear keen from more men. An online survey can be completed on the Sussex Health & Care website, where you can also find details of a virtual public meeting on Friday 31 March, starting at 10am.
Consultant stroke physician at Worthing Hospital, Dr Rajen Patel, said: “It’s great to see how many people have shared their views with us and we want to thank everyone who has completed the survey and attended our events.
“So far, the majority of people engaging with us have been women, but more men than women have a stroke in the UK each year and men are also more likely to have a stroke at a younger age, so it’s really important we also hear from men of all ages about our proposal to develop a new Acute Stroke Centre in Chichester.
“We know some people are concerned about having to travel a bit further to a specialist stroke centre in either Chichester or Brighton but spending 10-20 minutes longer in ambulance is far outweighed by the benefits of receiving treatment at a specialist 24/7 centre.
“We know from studies in other areas where this has happened that by improving round the clock access to consultant stroke physicians, specialist nurses, therapists, imaging services and treatments, we can improve outcomes for patients.”
Stroke is the fourth largest cause of death in the UK and the leading cause of complex adult disability. In May 2021, a new National Stroke Model was published by NHS England to help reduce deaths and disability from stroke by changing how in-hospital care is provided.
Dr Ryan Watkins, chief of service (Specialist Division) at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our staff in West Sussex currently provide good stroke care from two wards at St Richard’s Hospital and Worthing Hospital, but these units are unfortunately too small to consistently meet the best-practice standards that a larger Acute Stroke Centre could provide.
“This is why our clinical experts have been working together for the past two years to identify how we could deliver specialist stroke care 24 hours day, seven days a week in West Sussex. Following our extensive review, we believe St Richard’s would be the best location for an Acute Stroke Centre. While some patients would spend a bit longer in an ambulance to reach one of our specialist centres, we know their overall quality of care, access to specialist treatment and outcomes would be better.”
Under the proposal, there would be an increase in the number of people with a stroke going to a new Acute Stroke Centre at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and the Comprehensive Stroke Centre in the new Louisa Martindale Building at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Working together as a network, the two stroke centres would ensure everyone in the coastal area of 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. Analysis of ambulance journey times shows that most ambulance journeys would be under 45 minutes.
Rehabilitation services for people who have had a stroke would still be available across West Sussex, either in people’s home or in a healthcare setting.
For more information, please visit the Sussex Health & Care website.