Thursday, 10 January 2008

Closer to Home 2

This is the latest from my friends in Cumbria.

If you feel you can support them copy the item below the dotted line and send to address shown.



13 Oakley Avenue
High Harrington
CA14 4NP
Tel : 01946 831185

Dear Member

You may be aware of our local NHS proposals that are called “Closer to Home”.

These proposals state that stroke survivors will receive their rehabilitation in the community hospitals, not West Cumberland. This will result in the closure of both the Younger Disabled Unit and Ullswater Stroke Unit which means the benefits of being treated on a specialist and dedicated unit will be lost. All of us who have had experience of either the stroke unit or YDU know the difference these wards can make and it is only right that future patients should benefit from specialist services also. If we lose these wards now it is unlikely that they will be replaced in the future and the standards of care must suffer if rehabilitation is disbursed among the cottage hospitals. The committee at Strokelink are opposed to these proposals as they are a step backwards for stroke care in our area. We are committed to ensuring that people in West Cumbria receive the very best care possible following a stroke and we have worked towards this goal since our formation in 2002.

We would ask that you would support us by attending one or both of the public meetings listed below. The more people that show opposition to these proposals the more likely we will be in influencing the final outcome. If you would like to attend but are unable to find transport then please let me know.

Whitehaven – The Civic Hall – 7pm – Monday 14th January

Workington – The Washington Central Hotel - 7pm - Wednesday 16th January

You can also help by completing the attached letter and posting it to the address shown. Please add your name, address and signature, tick the boxes that are relevant to you and feel free to add any comments you wish or to write your own letter.

If we are to keep our stroke service then it is important that we have your support.

Yours sincerely

Alison Hunter
Hon Secretary


Closer to Home Name:
Cumbria PCT Address:
8 Tynefield Drive
CA11 8JA Date:

Dear Sir
Closer to Home Consultation

I would like to register my objection to the Closer to Home proposals (options 1, 2 & 3) regarding rehabilitation care of neurological conditions and stroke which would seem to propose the closure of Ullswater ward and the Younger Disabled Unit

 I have suffered a stroke
 I am a carer of someone who has had a stroke
 I have a relative or friend who has had a stroke

I have experienced or been witness to rehabilitation care on The Ullswater Stroke Unit or The Younger Disabled Unit. As such I feel that my experience is most relevent to this consultation process and I would like my views to be noted.

My concerns are

 At present acute rehabilitation is available within the hospital beyond the first 72 hours post stroke; this will no longer be the case

 Stroke patients will then be moved to a general ward or cottage hospital instead of a specialist unit. In neither case will the current standard of care be available or the special needs of stroke patients catered for.

 The current and necessary high level of involvement from consultant physicians will not be available

 In cottage hospitals further medical care will be provided by GPs who do not have the specialist knowledge required

 Patients will be treated by generic staff who are not specially trained in stroke to a high degree and who will not understand the complex emotional & psychological needs of stroke patients

 Staff will not be adequately trained in the difficulties of handling stroke patients and injuries will occur

 Medical complications associated with stroke eg diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure will not be adequately diagnosed or treated

 Stroke survivors and their relatives will have less opportunity to interact with others and gain mutual support and encouragement

 Patients will need to travel should they need further investigations – CT scan, MRI scan, carotid doppler etc which will result in unnecessary delays and additional patient risk
 Specialised neuro therapy teams and facilities will not be available - occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy – and so patients will not receive adequate rehabilitation

 Stroke patients will not be treated in line with current guidelines – NSF etc – and as such will be receiving lower standards of care than in other parts of the country

 Fewer beds and a more widely dispersed team will mean that discharge assessments, carers assessments, home adaptations etc will not be carried out within the timescales necessary.

 There will be greater demand on an already over stretched social services team

Other comments:

Yours faithfully


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