‘Stroke care in Ipswich will keep getting better’ as waiting time figures make town’s hospital second best in England

Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG have the second best results for getting stroke patients seen within fo

Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG have the second best results for getting stroke patients seen within four hours. Some of the team are pictured at Shotley Ward, Ipswich Hospital. - Credit: Archant

Stroke care in Ipswich and east Suffolk is now among the best in the country – just 18 months after Ipswich Star readers helped campaign to keep key services in the county.

That is what a leading doctor has said after new figures were released showing how many patients are admitted to stroke care units within a four hour target.

Only Hillingdon clinical commissioning group (CCG) beats Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG’s percentage of 83.8%, putting it second in England for the 2013/14 financial year.

Of the 586 people who went to A&E suffering a stroke, 491 of them were seen in the acute stroke unit at Ipswich Hospital within the four hour target time.

The news, which comes just 18 months after Ipswich Hospital faced losing its emergency stroke services, has been welcomed.

Mark Lim, project director for Suffolk stroke review at the CCG, said the introduction of seven day working for stroke specialists and improving procedures for patients arriving at hospital had helped to drive the service forward.

And he added these changes will boost their performance figures further in this financial year.

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“We were only doing the seven day working for part of the year so doing it all year could budge it up a bit,” Dr Lim said.

“We would expect it to go up because in the last half of the year that figure (for admissions within the target time) was higher than it was in the early part of the year.

“If you take the data from January onwards there is an improvement compared to the months leading up to January.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer sang the praises of the CCG’s stroke care saying it was a vindication of the decision to keep the service at Ipswich Hospital.

“It’s amazing to think that a few years ago our stroke services were under threat,” Mr Gummer said.

“There was a very real risk they were going to be closed in Ipswich and moved.

“It was only after the campaign I helped lead we were able to maintain them. It is good to see that investment is having effect and it is very exciting to see us in the top two.”

“It is a reward for the CCG for the decision they took and the confidence they have placed in the service.

“It is a great triumph for the hospital which shows we are now reestablishing Ipswich as a serious regional centre of specialist medicine.”