Review of stroke services across Norfolk and wider region

A major review of stroke services could lead to changes to patients' care in Norfolk.

Significant improvements have been made over the past four years in stroke services, which include stroke, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) and rehabilitation services.

However, NHS Midlands and East has launched the review as it believes that despite having a network of stroke specialists, there are still gaps in care.

The review could see new hyper-acute stroke units established, or it could lead to specialist consultants working across more than one hospital.

However, it is still in the early stages and the current services offered by each NHS trust will be looked at in detail by an expert advisory panel, which will make recommendations for improvements. Final proposals for the new shape of services are expected between October and January, 2013, with a view to implementing the changes later in the year.

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Alex Stewart, regional head of operations for the Stroke Association, which is involved in the review, said survival rates had improved since the National Stroke Strategy was published in 2007, but there were still gaps in community care in particular. He said: 'I'm extremely optimistic that this review will improve care. Our members tell us that when they have had a stroke they like to get home from hospital as soon as possible, but when they do get home they realise it's not as easy as they expected and that they can suddenly feel as though they are abandoned.'

Professor Tony Rudd, who is chairing the stroke review and who is the Royal College of Physicians stroke lead, said: 'Stroke care has improved considerably in the UK over the last 10 years and certainly compared to many other countries in Europe and elsewhere we already have services of which we can be proud.

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'However there are still inequalities in the standards of care people might receive depending upon where they have their stroke and what time of day or day of the week it happens. We have to ensure that everyone has access to the highest quality of care and I am delighted to have been asked to chair the project board for this really important piece of work.'

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