Northern Ireland

Stroke services shake-up: Fermanagh 'should have unit'

Stroke consultation
Image caption Local people had the chance to quiz decision-makers

People in Fermanagh have called for a hyper-acute stroke unit (HASU) to be located in Enniskillen.

More than 400 people turned out at a public consultation meeting on the future of stroke services in Fermanagh.

The meeting at the Killyhevlin Hotel on Wednesday was one of several taking place across Northern Ireland.

In March, the Department of Health announced a radical shake-up of stroke services which would see them operated from between three and five centres.

Currently services are spread across 11 hospital sites.

The model with three HASUs includes the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Craigavon in the Southern Health Trust and Altnagelvin in the Western Trust.

Another option, which suggests five HASUs, would also include Antrim Area Hospital in the Northern Health Trust and the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.

Local people at the meeting made their case for one of the HASUs to be located at the South West Acute Hospital.

Department of Health chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride and Brid Farrell from the health and social care board were among those who fielded questions.

Change

The Department of Health is also trying to convince politicians that the health service needs to change how it delivers stroke services.

Every year there are almost 3,000 stroke-related hospital admissions.

According to independent health reports, Northern Ireland's stroke services fall below national standards.

Hyper-acute stroke units or (HASUs) offer the best in-stroke response and treatment.

Image of brain
Credit - Science Photo Library
Science Photo Library
What is proposed?

Three to five hyper-acute stroke units

  • Three-hospital modelRVH Belfast, Craigavon Area Hospital, Altnagelvin

  • Five-hospital modelThe above plus Antrim and South-West Acute Hospital

Source: Department of Health

Specialists argue expertise is currently being spread too thinly and that is denying some people access to the best care.

According to the Department of Health, the proposed new network of HASUs would ensure that patients have access to the best possible care in regional centres of excellence no matter where they live or what time they are admitted to hospital.

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