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Add your voice to NHS plans for stroke and major trauma centres in London

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Five hundred lives a year will be saved through the creation of specialist stroke and trauma centres in London, according to a consultation launched on Friday 30 January 2009. Expert clinical care and the latest technology would be concentrated in a few super –centres which would treat the most serious and life-threatening cases. And they would be linked to a network of A&E, stroke units and mini-stroke centres across the capital dealing with less serious cases, rehabilitation and continued treatment. The consultation, which is on part of Lord Darzi"s ten year vision for the capital "Healthcare for London", will look at the location and coverage of potential sites for eight specialist stroke and four major trauma centres.

St George"s Hospital in Tooting would is one of the proposed major trauma centres and one of the eight proposed hyper acute stroke units.It is also proposed that St George"s would host a local stroke unit and a mini-stroke centre.

Ann Radmore, Chief Executive of Wandsworth Teaching PCT said: "All stroke patients and trauma patients in London will benefit from improved trauma centres and hyper-acute centres. The proposals will ensure investment, new services and world class quality for all Londoners.
  "In Wandsworth we will be visiting patient and community groups over the coming months so we can find out what the people in Wandsworth think of the proposals. It is really important that Wandsworth residents take the chance to have their say and tell us what they think about the proposed changes.”

Stroke is the second biggest killer in London and the most common cause of disability – around 11,500 Londoners suffer a stroke each year, about one person every hour. The consultation calls for an extra £23m a year to be invested in delivering improved stroke care. The new stroke services would start to be delivered from early 2010.

Dr Chris Streather, Healthcare for London clinical stroke lead, said: "Londoners deserve better access to life-saving treatment if they suffer a stroke. Clinical excellence in essential, but time is of the essence too. Many patients are treated in hospitals close to home, but the quality of clinical care they receive can be poor.”

Delivering this high quality care requires specialist multidisciplinary teams and high quality equipment available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, in 2006, out of 30 hospitals in London providing stroke services, only three treated over 90 per cent of stroke patients in a dedicated unit. The best stroke care means rapid access to a CT scan to determine the cause of stroke, immediate treatment with clot-busting drugs, if appropriate, and physiotherapy within a few days of the stroke.Thrombolysis – the use of clot-busting drugs – needs to occur within three hours of the onset of a stroke to be effective, and a CT scan is required before thrombolysis can occur. In 2006, no London hospital provided 90 per cent of patients with a scan within 24 hours.

Major trauma centres would deal only with the most serious cases, such as badly injured car crash victims and patients with life-threatening knife and gunshot wounds. Currently each hospital only treats around one major trauma victim per week, 1,600 cases a year across the capital. London currently only has one major trauma unit at the Royal London Hospital and this would be boosted to four. Up to £12m would be invested in the centres, along with improvements to all A&Es in London. Under the Healthcare for London proposals, all Londoners will be no more than 30 minutes from a specialist stroke unit and no more than 45 minutes from a major trauma centre.

You can read the consultation document here and fill in a questionnaire and leave your feedback on what you think of the proposals by clicking here .

The consultation will end on 8 May 2009 and its findings will be considered by a joint committee of primary care trusts in the summer.

Date posted: 1 April 2009