Improving acute stroke services in Somerset

Update on the implementation phase following the Integrated Care Board meeting 23/05/2024

Following the unanimous decision taken by NHS Somerset Integrated Care Board in January to improve our acute stroke services, we agreed to keep the public informed on the next steps in the process.

We have now started to implement the plans, which were developed by clinicians, people working in stroke services, key stakeholders and people with lived experience of stroke. We have been considering how to keep key stakeholders involved in the implementation phase so we will be setting up a Stroke Stakeholder Reference group that will receive regular updates on the implementation of the changes, and will advise on ways to best engage with local communities to respond to concerns they may have.

Delivering better outcomes for our patients

The changes will mean better emergency treatment, reduced disability, in fewer deaths and better recovery for stroke patients. A considerable amount of work has gone to make these improvements, including hugely valuable input from clinicians, staff, stroke survivors and their loved ones.

The review of urgent stroke services in Somerset has always been about improving the quality of care and outcomes for patients. These changes will see a significant investment in local stroke services. We will see improvements to patients’ diagnostic and treatment times, with quicker CT scans and thrombolysis, meaning patients will recover better and have an improved experience. All patients, no matter where they live in Somerset, will benefit from being admitted to a unit that is able to provide excellent stroke care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr Bernie Marden, NHS Somerset’s Chief Medical Officer said:

‘I would like to thank the people who took the time to contribute to the public consultation. The many and varied responses received and the richness of conversation about a complex and often emotive subject, was welcomed. The challenges offered resulted in retesting and re-evaluation of our proposals, meaning we could ensure the decision we made was in the best interests of stroke patients. I welcome the involvement of key stakeholders in the next steps during the implementation of our plans to deliver better care to our patients.”

Our NHS colleagues in Dorset have been active members of our steering group and we continue to work closely together to implement these changes over the coming 18 months. The process will make sure that the services needed at Musgrove Park Hospital and Dorchester County Hospital will be ready to go, before emergency stroke services at Yeovil move. For more information about the changes to acute stroke services please visit NHS Somerset website.

Preventing strokes linked to high blood pressure

Alongside the work to improve acute stroke services, we are also committed to reducing the number of people having strokes linked to high blood pressure. We know that 1 in 3 people in Somerset with high blood pressure, do not know they have it. With over half of all strokes and heart attacks linked to high blood pressure, we are urging people to get their blood pressure tested.

 ‘Take the Pressure Off’ campaign is a joint initiative between NHS Somerset and Somerset Council. The campaign aims to raise awareness about high blood pressure and encourage early detection through free blood pressure checks within communities across Somerset. You can get your blood pressure checked at your local pharmacy, or hire a monitor from libraries across Somerset. For more information please visit