Two of five stroke units are set for definite closure in the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw integrated care system, according to an article on Health Services Journal.
The closure will be staggered, with the Rotherham Foundation Trust losing its hyper-acute stroke care department first in July this year, followed in October by the closure of the same department at the Barnsley Hospital Foundation Trust. Hyper-acute stroke care is the very specialist care given within the first 72 hours after a stroke.
Patients who would have gone to Rotherham will now be taken to either Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, or Doncaster Royal Infirmary, depending on which is closest. Those who would have gone to Barnsley will go to either Doncaster Royal Infirmary or Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
Acute stroke care and rehabilitation services will still be provided at all the hospitals within the ICS, with patients moving out of hyper-acute stroke care back to other hospitals as soon as possible.
The closure of these two units was the subject of a legal challenge launched by a Barnsley resident, along with Save Our NHS groups in Barnsley and Rotherham. In July 2018 a judge refused permission for a judicial review of the closures. The decision for the closures was made in November 2017 by the Joint Committee of the Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Stroke units have been a major target in reorganisation plans within sustainability and transformation plans written back in 2016 and now are part of plans for integrated care systems (ICS). In February 2019, the joint committee of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Kent and Medway approved plans to replace six stroke units with three hyper-acute stroke units based in hospitals in Dartford, Ashford and Maidstone.
Kent campaigners and local councillors have raised concerns about the calculations used to justify the changes, saying that the impact of longer journey times to hospitals have not been properly considered and compiled using data from London where distances are shorter. There were also concerns about the capacity of the new system as the plan involves