Consultation on closure of stroke service at Yeovil
This sort of thing is probably inevitable. As the merger of Yeovil NHS Trust and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is now a reality, “streamlining” of services are in the pipeline.
What that means for stroke services, is the closure of the Yeovil service. A proposal under consultation right now will see resources being concentrated in Taunton’s Musgrove Hospital.
Of course at this stage it is just a consultation. But beware of consultations under the “Fit for my Future” brand. Readers may recall a similar consultation on the closure of mental health beds in Wells. The beds would be relocated to Yeovil. A consultation has to be run. It is a condition for these sort of changes. The question is whether it is a tick box exercise or a genuine attempt to understand people’s views.
In the case of the mental health beds in Wells, local people came up with the wrong answer. The consultation result was ignored and the trust went ahead with the plan they wanted to implement. Local people are still protesting over the plan to this day, but their views continue to be ignored.
Similarly this latest consultation (which closes on 24 April) asks what you think. But it is very clear from the documentation, what the newly merged trust wants to do. To close down stroke services from Yeovil.
The questionaire is your last chance to give your views. Whether they will actually be listened to remaisn to be seen.
Do you want to close the acute stroke service in Yeovil and concetrate it in Musgrove (option A)? Or would you like to see two services (option B), one in each hospital? Interestingly you are not given an option over the hyper acute unit. Option A and Option B appear to have it located in Taunton.
The trust points out that although they are coping, staff shortages are providing a challenge to the ability to provide a service in both hospitals. They believe they can provide a better service by centralising it in Taunton.
The question that none of the information provided by the trusts addresses is this. Our understanding is that with a stroke, the speed at which initial treatment is received can make a significant difference to the outcome. This is where the hyper acute service comes in. It is the service covering the first 72 hours after a stroke.
Yet replacing two hubs with one gives rise to an inevitable geographical problem. It will, by definition, take longer for a greater number patients to get to hospital after suffering a stroke. That must surely reduce the chance of a full recovery? It may be that the services can be streamlined, but will the outcomes inevitably be better?
You can find out about the proposals here: https://somersetics.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Stroke-Consultation-Document-FINAL.pdf
And you can respond to the consultation here: https://online.ors.org.uk/questionnaire/1523F2A
You have until 24 April to have your say.