The great stroke debate continues…

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Around ‘Your Waverley’ the debate continues on how and where patients of the Guildford & Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group should be treated.

Click here for a recent post on the view from the East of the borough.

If you are going to have a stroke – make sure you are not living on the fringes of ‘Your Waverley’!

A group  created by Haslemere Town Council to monitor healthcare in South West Surrey linked to Haslemere Hospital League of Friends has spoken of its concerns.

Chaired by  local solicitor Ian  Doolittle, it team of ten,  include   health professionals, businessmen, borough councillors and residents. The Haslemere Health Group (HHG) maintains the proposals to move  hyper acute stroke services to Frimely Park Hospital with rehab at Farnham and Woking Hospital  present a “risk to patients” including the lack of critical and fast level of support required on long journey times.

The latter – it maintains – is not helped by an ambulance service which has been placed in special measures by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, because of its service failings.

It  highlights the “illogical and inconvenient location” and the creation of two specialist stroke centres “within a few miles of one another in the north of the district. Mr Doolittle says : “This is not beneficial to those in the south.”where transport and “access difficulties”  pose a problem, not only putting patients at risk, but creating difficulties for their families, while access to the Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH) “is relatively easy.”

  • Criticisms of the plans include the “failure to consult properly” which is considered by the heath group to be unsatisfactory, and the unacceptable claims to have RSCH and St Peter’s teams “effectively deciding between them” where future services should be located.
  • Plans for post-acute care, HHG claims, have also not been thought through and a lack of inadequate planning are all featured in a  letter sent to the Guildford & Waverley CCG.
  • With the consultation period ending yesterday April 30, it is understood a ‘secret meeting’ chaired by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is also the Haslemere MP, has taken place  between the key players in the scheme.

This  included  CEO  of South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), Dr Eyre-Brook, NHS representatives and Waverley Borough councillors – but no-one  believed to represent Haslemere and areas in the East.
While he wouldn’t confirm a meeting had been arranged, a spokesman for Mr Hunt’s constituency office says he was “not in a position to discuss who is, or isn’t, attending the meeting.”
Mr Doolittle said the group recognised the problems faced by the CCG. “It’s just that Haslemere is on the borders of three counties, out there in the corner of Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire and suffers badly from being betwixt and between.” “I think the CCG is getting things wrong, We are simply saying while we realise it would be easier to remove stroke services from the RSCH, the upshot of that is if you look on the map, in our view is not sensible to have two HASUs in the north-west corner of the county.
“Our quarrel is this consultation has  pushed  people to endorse this current plan and there is no straight forward question asking whether people they would like their stroke services delivered through the RSCH.“We think that is unhelpful and unfair.”

And he asked the people of Haslemere and residents in surrounding villages: “Do you want to be taken to Frimley or to the RSCH given the critical time between having a stroke and being treated and relying on an ambulance service which is acknowledged to be performing badly.” “We are asking them to think again, geographically what the HHG says seems to make a whole heap of sense and the current proposals are genuinely scary.”

 Some residents believe services should be delivered in the way proposed and should  campaign immediately for a hospital car service. Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council, should urgently make  plans to improve  transport links in aBorough  badly served by public transport.

 Roy Lilley, a former Chairman of Frimley Park Hospital  said: Unquestionably getting a patient to a dedicated stroke unit is far and away preferable and the outcomes will be better.

Paramedics are no longer ‘ambulance men and women’ they are highly trained and the administration of thrombyletics has made a huge difference; there is no longer the desperate dash to the hospital. So, that bit doesn’t worry me.

I do understand the concerns of relatives and friends having to hike across the county to visit. There is no getting around that…. unless they make a hospital car service available to people with no transport. That is not impossible.

The move towards critical care centres is a good thing. It was interesting that the pedestrians mowed down on Westminister Bridge in the ‘terror attack’ were not taken to St Thomas’ on the other side of the bridge. They were driven three miles to King’s College where they have a Tier 1 A&E and critical care unit.

Time to hospital is less often a critical issue and the skills of the paramedics have improved.

NHS funding is such that it is no longer possible to have a Tier 1 facility in every town and village – ask the MPs what they are going to do about NHS funding come the election.

If I had a stroke I’d want to be in Frimley and I’d want to be in the Farnham rehab as soon as possible. It is a rough rule of thumb but by and large, with a stroke, you’ll plateau after 48hrs. That is the vital part of the treatment. Frimley is the best place and the attendant issues are significant for families, I get that, but I think we’d all want our friends and relatives to be in the best place.

It is possible to cushion the inconvenience of travel with FaceTime and Skype, for those who can do it and assisted travel for visitors is not beyond the wit of man.

We say here at the WW – what about the very elderly who haven ever heard of FaceTime of Skype?

6 thoughts on “The great stroke debate continues…”

  1. Roy Lilley is wrong to say “Paramedics are no longer ‘ambulance men and women’ they are highly trained and the administration of thrombyletics has made a huge difference; there is no longer the desperate dash to the hospital. So, that bit doesn’t worry me.” In fact clot busting drugs are NOT given as a stroke could be not a clot but a bleed and the treatment could be fatal. The dash to the hospital is for a scan to tell what kind of stroke has ocurred and the timescale IS vital

    1. Proving that a little knowledge is a dangerous or possibly fatal thing.
      Well meaning amateurs should not make rash comments Mr Lilley,if Lynda McDermot is correct.
      Please leave people’s lives to the experts.

    2. Yes – time is critical – and we at the Waverley Web have heard from residents in the towns and villages that they are considering putting up the For Sale signs – and moving closer to critical care centres. A week ago Guildford and Woking town centres were gridlocked due to a broken down van. Frustrated motorists, including emergency services, struggled to get across town with traffic at a standstill! That is before any of Guildford’s 12,000 new homes are built – and tens of thousands more in Waverley and Woking.
      Time in this instance is not money – it could be the difference between life and death.

  2. 1.The Hospital Car service is voluntary and for the use of Patients requiring treatment at Clinics,not a Taxi service,unless the parameters have changed.
    2.Does the RSCH not deal with Stroke and Heart Attack Patients,or do they cherry pick emergency admissions?
    3.Does the “Golden Hour” not apply any more to Heart Attack and Stroke victims,or are ALL Paramedics now thrombolytic trained?
    4.Do all Ambulances arrive within the prescribed attendance times?
    The answers to the above bear no satisfactory answers then the whole idea is dangerous ,life threatening, and very flawed,and should be subject to public consultation.

  3. The WW whole heartedly agrees with you Mr Dixon. In answer to your numerous questions – only God and his disciples, – who are all the decision-makers in the NHS know the answers. As for thrombolytic trained paramedics, last we heard from a heart attack victim he was treated by firemen!
    As for public consultation – the cartoon says it all WWethinks!

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