Yeovil group petition council against closure
The Somerset Integrated Care Board is planning to close the hyper acute stroke unit at Yeovil Hospital. Now we have learned that a petition will be submitted to prevent the closure to Somerset Council.
The ICB ran a consultation on the closure ran until 24 April. If the Trust have their way, all stroke treatments will be carried out at Musgrove Hospital in future.
You can read a full report on the issue in our sister publication, Somerset Confidential: https://levellerconfidential.substack.com/p/yeovil-without
Having been alerted to the issue by our article, a group of Yeovil residents got together to petition against the closure. The Quicksilver Community Group (QCG) grew out of the community group opposed to a homeless hostel in Hendford. Having successfully fought that issue, they are now trying to force Somerset ICB into a rethink.
Although they ran a consultation, it was presented as if the decision had been all but taken. The preference for closure was clearly spelled out.
The treatment of strokes is very time sensitive. As Somerset NHS Trust’s Dr Rob Whiting, acknowledges: “With stroke, what matters is the total time taken from calling 999 to having a scan and starting the right treatment.” Residents are concerned that the large increase in drive time, to get from south east Somerset to Musgrove Hospital, will adversely affect patient outcomes.
Hence the petition which has now gathered just under 5,000 signatures.
As a result Quicksilver Community will present their petition to the full council meeting of Somerset Council on 24 May. Whilst Somerset Council does not have control over these decisions, they are partners in the Integrated Care Board which takes an overview of healthcare in the Somerset Council area. So if the council accept the petition and resolve to act on it, that in itself would carry some weight.
Sadly this is exactly what it says on the tin – a decision that has already been made to close Yeovil stroke service but they are obliged to (pause for the ICB yawns) consult.
Their model is flawed. Their timings for getting from Yeovil to Musgrove are under blue lights. The truth of the facts are: 1) You call an Ambulance 2) It gets classed as a stroke (cat2) and you’re told it may take a few hours 3) So you have to drive your patient to Musgrove yourself (no blue lights – far longer journey time than their model).
They say the Yeovil unit has to close due primarily to staff shortages. Musgrove is also short handed. Most of the staff at the Yeovil stroke unit have indicated that they will not transfer to Musgrove (hearsay I admit but plausible). So the result is a shorthanded unit at Musgrove with double the patients, and because they now arrive in worse condition, even more recovery work required.
…unless they are counting on some of the patients dying due to the longer journey times.