Ipswich: 500 signatures and counting – outpouring of support for Star’s Save Our Stroke Care petition

Stroke victim Lynn Hamblin has called for readers to sign the Save Our Stroke petition

Stroke victim Lynn Hamblin has called for readers to sign the Save Our Stroke petition - Credit: Archant

A YOUNG stroke victim has today urged you to sign a petition which aims to put pressure on the powers that be to establish an emergency stroke unit at Ipswich Hospital.

Star reporters Lizzie Parry and Hollie Rae Merrick with counting the Save our Stroke Care petitions

Star reporters Lizzie Parry and Hollie Rae Merrick with counting the Save our Stroke Care petitions - Credit: Archant

More than 500 readers have already done their bit, signing the Save Our Stroke Care petition.

But today Lynn Hamblin, who was fell victim to a stroke on Valentines Day, aged 40, is calling on everyone to pick up their pen and show their support.

And Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, echoed her call, vowing to take the petition to the health bosses in charge of making the decision to show the weight of public opinion.

A regional Stroke Review is under way to set up hyper acute stroke units (HASUs) at hospitals across East Anglia – which could see Ipswich Hospital miss out on establishing a specialist centre, meaning patients would have to travel to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge or Colchester Hospital.

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

As part of the regional stroke review, which began in July, three options are understood to be considered for Suffolk – one of which would see Ipswich Hospital and West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds miss out on establishing a centre.

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Instead stroke patients would have to travel by ambulance to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge or Colchester for emergency treatment.

The threat comes a year after Ipswich Hospital’s stroke service was held up as an example of excellence to the rest of the region.

An Expert External Advisory Group is understood to be set to suggest three options for Suffolk patients:

• HASUs, providng emergency treatment, at Addenbrooke’s and Colchester with acute services, for rehabilitation, at Ipswich and West Suffolk

• A HASU at Ipswich with acute services at Colchester and West Suffolk

• HASUs at Ipswich and Colchester with an acute service at West Suffolk

Mrs Hamblin, a mum-of four, said not having emergency care at Ipswich Hospital “could cost lives”.

The 41-year-old was working a night shift on the hospital’s maternity ward when she collapsed after suffering a mini stroke and losing feeling in the right side of her body.

Her concerned colleagues transferred her to the emergency department where she was referred up to the stroke ward.

While waiting to see her doctor, Mrs Hamblin suffered another major stroke.

“I suffered a bleed to the brain,” she said. “It was caused by a tear to my neck muscle.

“They don’t know why it happened but apparently it is a common cause of stroke in younger people.

“I was lucky, I didn’t need the clot busting drug but being on site at the hospital, if I had I would have had a much better chance.

“I made an amazing recovery, within two days. The whole team were fantastic.

“I can’t imagine the impact it would have had on us as a young family to have to be transferred to a different hospital at such a distressing time.

“For those that need the clot busting treatment, time is of the essence.

“Having to travel out of the county could cost lives. “I urge you all to sign and support the campaign as you may never know when this service may touch your lives, as it has ours.”

Mr Gummer added: “Such a high number of petitions signed in such a short period of time shows the degree of passion that people have about this issue.

“As someone who has had a very close experience of the devastation stroke can bring, I know how essential it is to have early treatment and that is why we need to have a proper stroke centre at Ipswich Hospital.”