Felixstowe: Support for stroke campaign is growing at resort

Sylvia Arnold is pictured at her home in Felixstowe with her petition to save the stroke care unit.

Sylvia Arnold is pictured at her home in Felixstowe with her petition to save the stroke care unit. She is backing the Ipswich Star campaign. - Credit: Archant

MORE than 2,500 people in the Felixstowe area have now signed a petition urging health bosses to save emergency stroke care at Ipswich Hospital – taking the total to more than 3,600.

Sylvia Arnold, organiser of the petition, part of the Ipswich Star’s Save Our Stroke Care campaign, praised the public for their “superb support”.

Meanwhile Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey urged more people to show their support and sign the petition, highlighting the importance of retaining emergency care at Ipswich in the face of worrying ambulance response times in the area.

Mrs Arnold and her husband Colin, who live in Colneis Road, Felixstowe, have placed petition forms in town centre shops and also given them out to organisations. They have also spent time at Great Eastern Square and outside the town’s Morrisons superstore collecting signatures.

She said: “We are determined to keep going and collect as many signatures as we can because this is such an important issue.

“If we don’t fight for the stroke service then it could just be taken away and put somewhere else – you often read that something has been lost and then it’s too late, that’s why we need to take action now.

“We have had superb support from the public and the reaction of almost everyone we have spoken to has been brilliant and they have wanted to sign and have been very angry that such a good stroke unit could be moved.”

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Dr Coffey said recent figures revealed fewer than 40% of stroke patients reach a hyper acute stroke unit (HASU) at hospital within an hour – well below the target of 62%.

She said: “I would be very worried about adding significantly to journey times for stroke patients in Suffolk.

“We have a high elderly population, particularly in east Suffolk, and I would be very concerned about these facilities being moved further away.”

The pair hope to be out and about over the Bank Holiday weekend at Felixstowe’s big events, the vintage car run and fun run.

A regional stroke review is currently under way to identify locations for hyper acute stroke units (HASUs) at hospitals across East Anglia. That review could see Ipswich Hospital missing out on establishing a specialist centre, meaning some patients would have to travel to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge or Colchester Hospital.

The aim of the review is to create several centres of excellence to improve patients’ chances of survival and recovery.