Durham stroke services to be centralised

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COUNCIL chiefs have put forward their views on plans which could lead to stroke services being centralised at one hospital.

Durham County Council’s adults, wellbeing and health overview and scrutiny committee responded to the consultation over proposals to close a unit in Darlington and concentrate resources and expertise in Durham.

The service cares for patients in the hours and days after a stroke.

The committee backed the option to base services at the University Hospital of North Durham.

Members heard that in 2010 more patients experienced a stroke in County Durham than in Darlington, with 925 patients compared to 683.

The council said the clinical evidence showed faster access to essential diagnostic facilities, such as scans, is critical for patients.

Although facilities are available at both hospitals, it says evidence points to more capacity at Durham, where patients would be able to access tests sooner, enabling quicker diagnosis with better health outcomes.

Coun Robin Todd, committee chairman, said: “Clinical quality and the best interests of the patient are always our first consideration when we look at this type of service change.”