Chief Executive meets with Newry and Mourne Council representatives
21/10/2014Senior staff from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust have met with the Health Committee of Newry and Mourne Council as part of the on-going consultation on the future of stroke inpatient services.
Chief Executive, Mairead McAlinden, along with senior medical staff Dr Michael McCormick and Dr Pat McCaffrey; Interim Director of Acute Services, Debbie Burns; Director of Performance and Reform Paula Clarke and Assistant Director of Older People and Primary Care, Roisin Toner, met with the Council’s Health Service Working Group on Monday, October 13th.
Mairead said: “Our plans for the future of stroke inpatient services are based on moving towards the national standards for stroke care which are already delivering improved outcomes elsewhere in the UK.
“Evidence from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Royal College of Physicians shows that concentrating stroke care expertise in specialist centres with dedicated teams available 7 days a week gives people who have had a stroke the opportunity to achieve the best outcomes.
“We are proposing to concentrate our stroke inpatient care on one site – at Craigavon Area Hospital – in order to improve the acute inpatient stroke care available to all of the people in the Southern Trust.”
“In future, we are proposing that patients who have had a stroke will continue to go to their nearest Emergency Department, at Daisy Hill or Craigavon, where they will receive the appropriate specialist assessment. Stroke Thrombolysis, the ‘clot busting’ drug, can be provided at both sites to those patients who are suitable. This is the same immediate and urgent access to emergency care that patients experience at present.
“Once patients have their immediate treatment and diagnostics, they will be transferred to the specialist stroke unit at Craigavon for specialist acute treatment. Following the acute phase patients will be either discharged home with support from the community stroke team or receive in-patient rehabilitation. For those patients from the Newry area who need ongoing in-patient rehabilitation, arrangements can be made for their transfer back to Daisy Hill.
“While we currently provide good inpatient stroke care on four hospital sites – Daisy Hill, Craigavon, Lurgan and South Tyrone hospitals - we cannot achieve the latest best practice standards for stroke care across the week and into the weekend on all these sites with the staff and facilities we have. We believe it would be better if the expertise currently available on these four sites was combined to create a single specialist stroke unit to provide an improved quality of acute impatient care.
“While these proposals are clinically right for patients who suffer a stroke and are proven to improve the level of recovery after a stroke, I fully understand and appreciate the views expressed at the meeting by local elected representatives and their concerns on behalf of their constituents about the proposed transfer of a much valued local inpatient service from Daisy Hill to Craigavon. They have strongly represented these concerns and have stressed the inconvenience of extra travel for family members.
“I firmly believe the improvements we are proposing, backed by clinical evidence of the long term benefits of enhanced recovery for people who suffer a stroke, outweigh these concerns. Stroke can be a devastating event and can have lasting and debilitating consequences. We can improve outcomes for people after a stroke and reduce the length of time they need to stay in hospital by bringing all our specialist staff together, and believe individuals and families will understand this long-term benefit is worth any short-term inconvenience.
“However I fully understand and respect Councillors’ concerns and I will take them to my Trust Board in November when the decision will be made. I would also be happy to hear any other views from the local community on our proposals. We want to deliver services in a way that provides the best possible quality of care to the people living in the Southern Trust and beyond, and makes the best use of public funds.
“Our clinicians have worked closely with the Trust’s senior management team in developing these proposals which we believe will mean stroke care in this area will be on a par with best practise in the UK. Those are the standards which our service should be judged against,” concluded Mairead.
Consultation continues until the end of October, with final proposals due to go to Trust Board in November.