Hospital bed closures highlighted in shake-up of stroke services

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Details of a radical shake-up in the care of people who suffer strokes in Horsham, Crawley and Mid Sussex are being put before health chiefs next week.

The proposals aim to centralise emergency stroke treatment by creating a a ‘hyper acute stroke unit’ at the Royal Sussex County Hospital site in Brighton.

The proposals could see the closure of an 18-bed stroke ward at Crawley Hospital. It follows an ‘interim closure’ of acute stroke services at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath earlier this year.

Emergency stroke beds at the Princess Royal have already been re-allocated for patients with other medical needs.

But health chiefs say that, overall, the shake-up could see a ‘slight increase’ in beds by creating more rehabilitation care at local sites, while emergency cases go to Brighton.

They say that the changes “aim to provide high quality stroke services and reduce health inequalities.”

Details are being put before members of the Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups - which sources, monitors and pays for local health care - at a joint meeting being held in Crawley on Tuesday.

Pennie Ford, director of assurance and delivery of NHS England, in a letter to Dr Minesh Patel, chairman of the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The stroke rehabilitation and community pathways, including any proposals for bed closures, such as those proposed at the Crawley Hospital site, will require further review.”

She said further discussions would take place in coming months “to set out the next steps with regards to engagement and assurance for the rehabilitation pathways and proposed community beds closures, this will be in conjunction with the wider Sussex and East Surrey system.”