STROKE survivors, politicians and medics joined forces to voice concerns over controversial proposals for a radical shake-up of stroke services in Northern Ireland.
During a well attended public consultation event at Coleraine's Lodge Hotel fears were raised over Causeway Hospital not forming part of the new vision for stroke treatment.
The ‘reshaping’ of stroke proposals involve the existing 11 centres being slashed by almost half to provide expert round-the-clock care.
Department of Health chiefs insist that the new ‘hyperacute’ stroke units will ensure patients have access to the “best possible care in regional centres of excellence.”
Dr Brid Farrell from the Public Health Agency told the meeting on Monday (July 1): “New evidence is emerging that there are variations in care across Northern Ireland; what we want to do is ensure that everybody gets the same opportunties.”
She stressed that Hyperacute Stroke Units (HASUs), where patients would be admitted for the first 72 hours, were “like mini high dependency units,” adding: “Evidence has shown that admission to HASU reduces the length of stay in hospital; not only saving lives but ensuring more people are less disabled.”
*Read the full story inside this week's Chronicle.