A West Midlands politician is calling for a re-think over proposals to close stroke services at Walsall Manor Hospital.
The plan, currently out to consultation, is to close the hyper-acute stroke unit because it is claimed it does not have enough patients.
But for the 360 to 400 patients a year that it does treat, James Carver UKIP MEP, said the unit was a “lifesaver and essential service for Walsall stroke victims and their families”.
The NHS Walsall Clinic Commissioning Group and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust launched the service review in the wake of National Stroke Strategy recommendations that at least 600 stroke patients a year are needed to make such units viable.
Mr Carver said: “This is a leading unit and its closure would be a great loss to stroke sufferers throughout Walsall.
“One of my members of staff suffered a serious stroke last year and received first class care at Walsall Manor Hospital both in the critical hours following the stroke and over the many months of rehabilitation.
“Recovering from a stroke is a long process requiring many follow up hospital visits. I know how much more difficult it would have been for him – and his wife who doesn’t drive – if he had been sent to the alternative New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, which is not well-served by public transport.
“There are also concerns for the implications of this proposed closure to Hollybank House which provides excellent after-care services for stroke sufferers throughout the area.”
Mr Carver’s political assistant Derek Bennett, is now back at work, being well over 90 per cent recovered thanks to the dedicated care provided both at the unit and Hollybank House.
He said: “Having a stroke is stressful for both the victims and their families. The last thing you want is to be further away from your family and the worry about them struggling to visit you and the high cost of taxis.
“Also, as most stroke victims can’t drive for some time afterwards, it would be very difficult to get to New Cross Hospital for follow up appointments.
“The quality of care at the Manor Hospital is second-to-none and the unit is at the forefront of stroke care and recovery techniques which are being followed by other hospitals.”
Mr Carver added: “To lose such a pre-eminent service providing cutting-edge treatments to hundreds of stroke sufferers every year would be an enormous backward step.
“I would urge stroke sufferers, past and present, who have benefited from the unit and their families, to respond to the consultation which finishes at the end of this week.”
People can give their views online at walsallccg.nhs.uk or by attending the final public consultation meeting on Wednesday, September 20 at the Aldridge Community Centre, Middlemore Lane, Walsall, at 10am.