Stroke services review: recommendation on the future of stroke services

Recommendations to improve hyper acute and acute strokes services in Somerset will be presented to the NHS Somerset Board for a decision next week, 25 January 2024.

The recommendations are designed to ensure we have safe, sustainable stroke services in Somerset. The recommendations have been further developed by senior clinicians, health and care staff and people with lived experience of stroke following a public consultation earlier this year.

Dr Bernie Marden, Chief Medical Officer, at NHS Somerset said:

“There was recognition from people who responded to the consultation that there was a need to change how stroke services in Somerset are organised. Currently, access to the best standards of care varies depending on where you live and the time of day you have a stroke. We want to eliminate that variation and ensure that the very best specialist emergency care is available, 24/7.

“It is important that we provide high-quality 24/7 stroke services which are safe and sustainable. This is why we are proposing to change the way acute hospital stroke services are organised in Somerset, so everyone in county will have the best opportunity to survive and thrive after stroke.”

The recommendations include changes to:

  • Hyper acute stroke services, with the establishment of a single Hyper Acute Stroke Unit at Musgrove Park in Taunton, providing 24/7 emergency treatment. Research shows that more people survive stroke and are able to live independently when specialised stroke services are located in one place.
  • Ongoing hospital treatment, with acute stroke units at both Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton and Yeovil District Hospital, Yeovil. Maintaining two acute stroke units would mean that following their emergency stroke treatment, patients could move to Yeovil District Hospital if this was closer to where they live.
  • Patients would be taken to their nearest hyper acute stroke unit. This could be out of Somerset if it was closer such as Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester.

Dr Rob Whiting, Consultant Stroke Physician and Clinical Director for Neuroscience and Stroke, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“It is great to be able to bring these recommendations forward for decision-making. They take on board what we heard through the public consultation and are designed to ensure that every stroke patient in Somerset has the best possible opportunity to achieve better outcomes.”

Rick Hein, a stroke survivor and lived experience representative on the stroke steering group said:

“I am pleased to have been involved in shaping and designing these services alongside other people with experience of stroke. It’s so important for the development of new services to take on board both the personal experiences of local people alongside the expertise of clinicians.”

View the Board report and Decision-Making Business Case on the NHS Somerset website.

The Board meeting will be held in public, public questions can be submitted in advance of the meeting – Board papers and meetings – NHS Somerset ICB. The deadline for the receipt of public questions for the Board meeting has been extended to noon on Monday 22 January 2024.

Further information on the stroke services review can be found on our stroke pages.