SOUTHEND would provide specialist treatment for stroke patients under new proposals for the east of England.

The town’s hospital, which already has a first-class stroke unit, is being recommended as one of three future hyper-acute stroke units for Essex.

The others would be Colchester and Chelmsford.

They could each see up to 40 per cent more patients in the first three days following a stroke and will have more specialist stroke physicians available.

All five hospitals in Essex, including Basildon, would continue to have an acute stroke unit.

However, hyper-acute stroke units in the three hospitals would give all patients in Essex immediate access to top stroke specialists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jacqueline Totterdell, Southend Hospital chief executive, said: “We are delighted that our award winning stroke service has been recognised as a preferred option to become a hyper acute stroke service as part of the on-going review into the provision of stroke services across Essex and the East of England.

“We will work with our colleagues in the clinical commissioning groups and patient and carers across the local area over the coming months to ensure that our excellent service meets their needs and continues to deliver high quality critical care when it is needed the most.”