Causeway Hospital which is not included in the stroke services proposals.
AS the closing date looms for the public to have their say on a radical shake-up of stroke services in Northern Ireland, North Coast residents are being urged to make their voices heard before it is too late.
A public consultation on the far-reaching proposals, which do not include Causeway Hospital in the new vision for stroke treatment, has been extended until August 30.
The ‘reshaping’ of stroke proposals involve the existing 11 centres being slashed by almost half to provide expert round-the-clock care.
Department of Health chiefs insist that the new ‘hyperacute’ stroke units will ensure patients have access to the “best possible care in regional centres of excellence.”
But Cliodhna Rae, from the Causeway Hospital Campaign, told the Chronicle: “We have grave concerns over the distribution of the centres of acute stroke care.
“None of the eight proposals include Causeway as a centre for stroke care. The most important driver for these changes is the development of thrombectomy.” (The procedure of removing a blood clot from a blood vessel).
She stressed: “Five of the eight proposals do not have Antrim as a centre either. Some stroke sufferers will be taken by ambulance straight to the Royal in Belfast, but it is envisaged that at least part of the North Coast population, who have suffered a stroke, will be taken by ambulance to Altnagelvin Hospital for their immediate care. This is illogical.
“Stroke sufferers need to be assessed rapidly to see if they are suitable for thrombectomy. The length of time needed to travel to Altnagelvin and on to Belfast will result in much worse outcomes for stroke patients from the North Coast area because of the time wasted in travel, when diagnosis and clot busting drugs can easily be given in Causeway Hospital.”
*Full story in this week's Chronicle*