A leading consultant has given assurances stroke services will be preserved and improved during major changes to local healthcare.

Dr Paul Guyler, who heads up the stroke team at Southend Hospital, this week called for the future of stroke care in south Essex not to be used as a political football.

He has also suggested getting together a group of representatives of councils, campaign groups and other interested agencies to raise concerns about the changes under the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) plans so they can be properly investigated and addressed.

The proposals involve creating a hyper acute stroke unit at Basildon Hospital and maintaining acute stroke units and Southend and Broomfield hospitals.

Concerns have been raised however, that Southend’s award-winning stroke service will be downgraded. People are also worried about the safety of transporting stroke patients to Basildon once they have received initial treatment at their local hospitals.

Dr Guyler said he recognises the concerns and wants to listen to councillors and organisations before putting together a consensus of opinions to present to the STP.

Dr Guyler took to Twitter to outline his plan. He said: “This consensus can be published in the Echo for the public to see that all their politicians and public representatives are coming together to put their interests first.”

Following the tweet, Dr Guyler spoke to the Echo about his plan He said: “I have spoken to consultants and the Southend Health and Wellbeing Board and they have their concerns as well. It’s important that we put aside our differences and for the people elected to represent the people of Southend to make sure we get the best service.

“I got upset about it because I don’t want it to turn into a big political argument about political issues. I’m not a political person and I think what we should do is all get together – all the political parties and council, campaigners like Save Southend NHS and everyone representing the public.

“They could bring any concerns that haven’t been sufficiently addressed so that it’s very clear that we are dealing with it and looking for a way forward together to reassure the public that this is in their best interests and we will be able to deliver it.”

Dr Guyler added: “What has been proposed has already changed quite a lot and I expect further change if plans don’t go as expected and these will be developed over several years.

“If the plan for transport doesn’t work we will have to come up with a different plan. People have concerns that are real. As lead for stroke I’m happy to look at those concerns and mare sure they are all logged and that we help move them forward.

“This isn’t in place of the consultation taking place where everyone is asked for their views. This is an enhanced version of that.

“From the public meeting at the Cliffs Pavilion recently I understand there is a degree of scepticism about the STP and what I’m hoping to do is if people have concerns they can flag it up and their councillor of campaign group can bring it to the table and we can move it forward. That way people will feel their concerns are being heard .

“The key thing is that we want to make sure its better than what we already have.

“What’s changing is that rather than us being stuck in a unit in Basildon, Southend or Broomfield we will essentially become a stroke service for the whole region. We will work in different bits but we will all be working together with all the same staff.

“Stroke treatment is evolving all the time with new things like clot retrieval and thrombectomy which we will get to develop for the whole region and we need to make sure it’s an advantage for the whole area. Equally I don’t want us to change something that works well.

“If moving people around is not safe we won’t do it.

“In effect every hospital will have a hyper acute stroke assessment team there.

“I moved here ten years ago and was made very welcome. People raised money for the stroke unit and feel very responsible for them and my family and friends who make need to use this. I feel very passionately we want the best service and if something is not in our best interest I will be the first to say it.”