Watchdog criticises lack of progress in stroke support

Medical symbol - Doctor with stethoscope

Medical symbol - Doctor with stethoscope - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Healthwatch report has found there has been ‘very little’ improvement in the experiences of stroke survivors using community care services in the past two years.

The health and social care watchdog carried out an investigation into North Somerset stroke patients who have been discharged from hospital and into community rehabilitation from 2015-2017.

The report has found since Healthwatch’s 2015 Special Enquiry into Community Stroke Services there has been some deterioration in services although other aspects have been praised.

The number of patients who suffered a stroke under two years ago who did not receive a follow-up GP appointment increased, while respondents also provided evidence that carers are not given advice or information quickly enough when looking after a stroke survivor.

The report says: “This report concludes there has been very little overall improvement or change in the stroke survivors’ experience of being discharged into community services within the past two years.”

Healthwatch also warned a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) – designed to shape healthcare in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – could ‘significantly change’ the way health services are delivered, and urged hospitals to provide adequate support to stroke patients and carers before discharge.

A spokesman said: “North Somerset is working towards implementing the STP objectives within a combined STP footprint of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and with a merged clinical commissioning group.

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“The STP includes the redesign of services aimed at delivering more effective care at scale and with cost savings.

“The STP may significantly change the way health services are delivered to the people of North Somerset.

“Healthwatch North Somerset suggests that due to the current development of BNSSG pathways it is important there is continued development and implementation of relevant resources to be provided, to support North Somerset stroke patients and their carers before they are discharged from a Bristol hospital or Weston General Hospital.”