Stroke and radiotherapy plans 'will still go ahead'

Posted on Feb 10, 2012

Controversial plans to save the NHS millions will not derail an urgent review of stroke care or the creation of a radiotherapy unit, says a health chief. Simon Hairsnape, a senior player in Worcestershire’s emerging ‘clinical commissioning groups’ which will take over NHS budgets in 2013, raised concerns at a meeting of NHS leaders at Sixways Stadium in Worcester. However, he was given assurance from NHS Worcestershire chief executive Eamonn Kelly that neither the stroke care review or the development of the new unit would be delayed by the ‘joint service review’ of hospital services.

Simon Hairsnape, a senior player in Worcestershire’s emerging ‘clinical commissioning groups’ which will take over NHS budgets in 2013, raised concerns at a meeting of NHS leaders at Sixways Stadium in Worcester.

However, he was given assurance from NHS Worcestershire chief executive Eamonn Kelly that neither the stroke care review or the development of the new unit would be delayed by the ‘joint service review’ of hospital services.

As previously reported, an extraordinary board meeting was called last month to discuss how Worcestershire can close a £150-200 million black hole in NHS finances which will open up by 2015/16.

This major service review was announced the same week that NHS bosses announced an urgent review of stroke services and revealed that plans for a radiotherapy unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester (scheduled to open in 2014) had been approved by the strategic health authority.

As also reported, there are now five models for future stroke care, all of which involve some degree of centralisation of acute stroke care at either Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester or the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

It is understood that a centralised stroke service would increase opportunities for 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a week stroke care, which would lead to better chances of recovery for patients.

A preferred option for the future of stroke care is scheduled to be on the table within three months while bosses are expected to finish the joint service review in November.

Simon Hairsnape, chief operating officer for the Wyre Forest clinical commissioning group and the Redditch and Bromsgrove clinical commissioning group, asked for confirmation that the stroke and radiotherapy issues would not be delayed as a result of the joint services review.

Mr Kelly said of the radiotherapy unit: “We want the service to be the best it can be. We want to provide that service in the county. We will now proceed to make that happen.”

He said NHS leaders were in talks with members of the Worcestershire health overview and scrutiny committee, the county health watchdog, about stroke services.

Mr Kelly added: “We can’t let a review process stop us doing the right thing for patients.”


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