Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy 'concerned' at threat to County Hospital stroke unit
Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy has raised concerns over plans to axe the stroke ward at County Hospital with the Department for Health.
It comes as a petition campaigning to save the unit, addressed to the MP, has gained more than 200 signatures in just days.
The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust is considering closing the unit which caters for up to 18 patients at a time. It would mean patients needing life-saving treatment would have to travel further.
Mr Lefroy has begun talks with the hospital and with the Department for Heath to find out more about the proposal.
James Cantrill, spokesman from Mr Lefroy's office, said: "Mr Lefroy is very concerned about it.
"He has already been in talks with the hospital and with the Department for Health asking for the reasons why it is being considered and he is waiting to hear back on what they say.
"Mr Lefroy is aware of the petition and he is looking forward to speaking to the people behind it."
The Express & Star revealed on Tuesday that the hospital trust was 'considering' closing the unit after an anonymous member of the 40-strong workforce on the ward said they had not been formally told about it.
It immediately prompted a campaign to save it calling for Mr Lefroy's support and around 240 people have backed the online petition at change.org
Kathryn Anstiss who set up the petition, said: "This could create devastating results for many of your constituents, particularly as time is of the essence where a stroke is concerned.
"The distance required to travel from Stafford to Stoke is approximately 17 miles, with many residents who depend on the stroke rehabilitation ward and other crucial NHS services at Stafford Hospital living further afield in Mid Staffordshire and South Staffordshire.
"The 'scandal' surrounding Stafford Hospital is the scandalous way our local NHS services are being systematically removed and reduced rather than supported and improved," she said. Addressing the MP, she added: "Please support our hospital Mr Lefroy and stop any further reductions to services which residents in your constituency rely on and wish to be maintained in their own community at Stafford County Hospital. Time is of the essence."
The trust confirmed it was reviewing its neurosciences, including stroke care, with a view to providing more patient care delivered at home.
The stroke ward, which costs in the region of £1.5million a year to run, can handle patients in the first instance after a stroke but it mainly handles them in the rehabilitation phase. The neurology and acute stroke team at Royal Stoke is also being reviewed by bosses.
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