Stroke unit could move away from Sidmouth in merger
Stroke facilities could be moved more than 20 miles away from Sidmouth after it was revealed the Budleigh Salterton centre could be closed.
NHS bosses have confirmed discussions began this week which may see the merger of Devon’s two stroke units into one larger facility.
Currently patients from Sidmouth travel the short distance to the Budleigh centre for stroke care, but the plans could see it moved to the other site at Crediton.
A spokesperson for the Northern Devon NHS Trust said: “NHS Devon and the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust can confirm that discussions are ongoing over plans to increase and consolidate rehabilitation and recovery services for stroke patients living in East, Mid and West Devon.
“One proposal under discussion is to centralise stroke services in Devon from two bases to one.”
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He said talks with staff, commissioners and GPs were at a very early stage, and were continuing to explore a range of proposals before a decision is made, which could see the Budleigh and Crediton centres merged with one or more of them closing, or the creation of a new unit elsewhere in the county.
Terry Housom, who has run stroke recovery groups in Sidmouth and Ottery for a number of years, said moving services further away from those who need them will not help victims of strokes recover.
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The former leader of Sidmouth Stroke Survivors said it was sometimes difficult to get elderly people to come to recovery classes held in the town, so potentially moving the nearest stroke unit to Crediton would encourage fewer people to get the care they needed to help recover.
He said there is a growing need for units offering rehabilitation and recovery services, and figures from NHS Devon back this up.
In Ottery, where Mr Housom moved his group last year, reamed East Devon Stroke, health chiefs predict the number of people aged over 65 who will have a longstanding health condition caused by a stroke will go up by a quarter in the next decade.