'Public deserves a say on stroke unit'

Southend stroke specialist - Dr Paul Guyler says a single super-unit in Southend would be best for patients from all over Essex

Southend stroke specialist - Dr Paul Guyler says a single super-unit in Southend would be best for patients from all over Essex

First published in News by

A LEADING consultant says south Essex patients would be better served by a single large specialist stroke unit, rather than two smaller ones.

Southend Hospital stroke specialist Paul Guyler wants the public to be given a say before plans for new hyper-acute stroke services are finalised.

Consultations were promised, but so far none have been carried out.

Southend Hospital already has a cutting-edge stroke unit and is being recommended as one of three future hyper-acute stroke units to serve the whole of Essex.

The others would be Colchester and Chelmsford.

At present, stroke patients admitted at weekends don’t have access to some treatments, including physiotherapy and rehabilitiation, which are vital to full recovery.

The new units would give patients immediate access to leading specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Plans to downgrade Basildon Hospital’s stroke unit were halted after protest and the NHS has given the unit an extra £1million to improve its services.

However, Dr Guyler warned it was unlikely the area’s two NHS clinical commissioning groups could afford to keep it open, if a big new hyper-acute unit was opened in Southend.

He said: “The public should be the ones to decide whether we want to have one unit, with better outcomes, or two units with average outcomes.

“I have no problem with people putting money into localised frontline services, but it is no substitute and is just delaying the inevitable if we want a 24- hour service.”

Dr Guyler said clinical commissioning groups covering Basildon, Thurrock and Southend needed to take a board view of what was needed across the whole of south Essex.

He added: “The four groups should get together to make a decision about what’s best for patients.

“This has been going on for 18 months. We have the clinical recommendations and the financial recommendations, but they have not asked the public.”

Strokes happen when blood clots reach the brain and cut off the blood supply, causing parts of it to die off. Such clots can lead to permanent disabilities, or even death, if vital clot-busting drugs are not given in time.

The faster a patient gets them, the more brain cells are saved.

Dr Guyler says even if they need to travel to Southend by ambulance from Basildon, patients will get faster treatment at a hyper-acute unit.

He explained: “The more brain we can save, the more likely a patient is going to make a full recovery and be able look after themselves. That’s the bottom line. Some people want to keep the service close to home, but even with an ambulance journey from Basildon to Southend, they will still be treated 30 minutes faster than they in Basildon.”

Basildon chief wants to retain hers, too

SOUTHEND Clinical Commissioning Group has backed the idea of having a hyper-acute stroke unit at Southend Hospital.

GP Dr Brian Houston, a member of the group’s governing body, said: “NHS Southend’s position has always been clear.

“The stroke service in Southend is nothing short of excellent, and this is a reputation we wish to help build upon. The group is committed to ensuring the best outcomes for patients.

In terms of stroke services, we are, and always have been, fully supportive of a hyper-acute stroke unit at Southend.”

However, Basildon Hospital chief executive Clare Panniker is equally keen for stroke care to remain on her site.

She added: “The most important thing is for stroke patients to have the best care. Geographically, we are very well situated to be a stroke unit.

“We want to make sure all our patients, including those in Thurrock, are close to a unit.

“We also want to keep work in Essex – otherwise patients would go to London hospitals, which is also more expensive for the clinical commissioning groups.

“We have made huge improvements and we are delighted to have the opportunity to invest in the services.

“The extra money will help us with the sevenday working investment to have more nurses and doctors, as well as more physio treatment.”

Comments (4)

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6:58pm Mon 17 Mar 14

runwellian says...

When i saw Dr Guyler (post stoke) it was in a shed attached to the side of a building, where he was happy to keep the door open during my consultation .... not quite my idea of excellent patient care1
When i saw Dr Guyler (post stoke) it was in a shed attached to the side of a building, where he was happy to keep the door open during my consultation .... not quite my idea of excellent patient care1 runwellian
  • Score: -12

8:19pm Mon 17 Mar 14

SusePuse says...

runwellian wrote:
When i saw Dr Guyler (post stoke) it was in a shed attached to the side of a building, where he was happy to keep the door open during my consultation .... not quite my idea of excellent patient care1
Lucky for you, you clearly survived the stroke, something to do with the consultant that treated you, one would assume., Equally clearly, such a consultation would not have been carried out in a "shed", is it possible that the stroke has left you with observational issues, or were you someone who was always prone to exaggeration?
[quote][p][bold]runwellian[/bold] wrote: When i saw Dr Guyler (post stoke) it was in a shed attached to the side of a building, where he was happy to keep the door open during my consultation .... not quite my idea of excellent patient care1[/p][/quote]Lucky for you, you clearly survived the stroke, something to do with the consultant that treated you, one would assume., Equally clearly, such a consultation would not have been carried out in a "shed", is it possible that the stroke has left you with observational issues, or were you someone who was always prone to exaggeration? SusePuse
  • Score: 24

10:24pm Mon 17 Mar 14

bluehat says...

I had a Stroke in 2012, I did go to Southend and was first seen in A and E where I was seen very quickly by a Stroke nurse and a Stroke Dr. I had a scan of my brain and then had a drug to burst the clot in my brain. I found the Stroke Unit at Southend excellent following my Stroke. I received full physio, speech therapy and the occupational therapy who also visited my home before I went home. I also believe this unit to have excellent care I have managed to return back to my home and live the rest of my life. I agree with Dr Guyler that Southend should keep their unit at Southend and to be able to offer this service continuously 7 days a week every hour would help to make other people like me recover.
I had a Stroke in 2012, I did go to Southend and was first seen in A and E where I was seen very quickly by a Stroke nurse and a Stroke Dr. I had a scan of my brain and then had a drug to burst the clot in my brain. I found the Stroke Unit at Southend excellent following my Stroke. I received full physio, speech therapy and the occupational therapy who also visited my home before I went home. I also believe this unit to have excellent care I have managed to return back to my home and live the rest of my life. I agree with Dr Guyler that Southend should keep their unit at Southend and to be able to offer this service continuously 7 days a week every hour would help to make other people like me recover. bluehat
  • Score: 5

10:31pm Mon 17 Mar 14

bluehat says...

runwellian wrote:
When i saw Dr Guyler (post stoke) it was in a shed attached to the side of a building, where he was happy to keep the door open during my consultation .... not quite my idea of excellent patient care1
This building is not a shed it is a portacabin which is also the day assessment unit. This building has been used for a long time for appointments and is also where they assess new patients or for the people going home waiting for transport. It is a proper building not a shed and maybe the reason for leaving open the door was because the room is small. You can always ask for the door to be shut at any appointments. I have always found the stroke team on the unit and on my outpatients very open and honest.
[quote][p][bold]runwellian[/bold] wrote: When i saw Dr Guyler (post stoke) it was in a shed attached to the side of a building, where he was happy to keep the door open during my consultation .... not quite my idea of excellent patient care1[/p][/quote]This building is not a shed it is a portacabin which is also the day assessment unit. This building has been used for a long time for appointments and is also where they assess new patients or for the people going home waiting for transport. It is a proper building not a shed and maybe the reason for leaving open the door was because the room is small. You can always ask for the door to be shut at any appointments. I have always found the stroke team on the unit and on my outpatients very open and honest. bluehat
  • Score: 6

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