Health chiefs claim success of controversial stroke care shake-up

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CONTROVERSIAL changes to care for stroke patients in County Durham have been hailed a success by health bosses.

The decision to site a specialist 24-hour stroke centre at University Hospital of North Durham was unpopular in the south of the county, where campaigners wanted it located at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

But three months after the new centre opened, health chiefs say more victims are receiving specialist care within 24 hours and more are getting access to drugs which quickly restore blood flow to the brain.

A hospital trust spokeswoman said: “Before the changes, about 10 per cent of stroke victims brought in were given clot-busting treatment, but in the first month, the centralised stroke unit gave clot-busting drugs to 24 per cent of stroke victims.

“The proportion given the drugs over the whole period since the unit moved to Durham is averaging more than 20 per cent.”

Consultant Dr Bernard Esisi said there had been a rapid improvement since the move.