People urged to have their say on improvements to ‘critical hours’ stroke services

Clinical leaders in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven are holding a range of engagement activities so people can have their say on plans to improve local stroke services.

The plans will ensure that anyone who has a stroke receives consistent and safe care. As part of the changes, the existing hyper acute stroke unit (HASU) at Airedale General Hospital will move to Bradford Royal Infirmary to create a single HASU for the whole district.

People are now being invited to take part in a range of conversations, which start next week (13 July) and run until September, to discuss the plans and gather public comments. There are also other ways that people can get involved and have their say.

The three local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs): Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, Bradford City, and Bradford Districts – together with the local hospital trusts – have been working to develop a single site emergency stroke service for the district.

The service, based at Bradford Royal Infirmary, will provide round the clock care, seven days a week, giving patients access to the specialist skills, tests and treatments needed to save more lives, improve recovery and reduce disabilities that can result from a stroke – particularly in the first critical 48 hours of care.

The existing stroke unit at Airedale Hospital will remain as an acute stroke care and rehabilitation unit – 90% of the services it provides will be unaffected by this decision – and the two HASU ‘emergency’ beds will be transferred to Bradford Royal Infirmary alongside the existing HASU beds at that hospital.

As soon as patients have been stabilised by the team in Bradford, usually within 48 to 72 hours, patients from the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven areas will be transferred to Airedale General Hospital for their ongoing acute stroke care and rehabilitation.

With support from Healthwatch, the CCGs are engaging with stroke patients, their families and carers; people in high risk groups – such as South Asian, black and older people; and other interested groups.

The main purpose of the engagement activities is to identify the impact the change in service will have on people, but their views will also be used to help shape stroke services for the future.

Dr Phil Pue, chief clinical officer of Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, said: “We recognise that our plans will have a direct impact on patients who will need to travel a further distance to receive their HASU care and, potentially, on those already receiving or likely to receive care at Bradford Royal Infirmary.  So we want to hear from as many people as possible who will be affected by this change.

“During the engagement period we will explain clearly why the service has to change and what impact this will have on the general public and on stroke patients and their families.”

Dr Andy Withers, clinical chair of Bradford Districts CCG, added: “Local people’s views will enable us to understand what is important to them when accessing stroke services and how the changes will impact on their lives, and to identify any issues we have not considered and potential service improvements that should be discussed.

“All the information we receive will be published in a report explaining how we will respond, through the new service, to people’s concerns and comments.”

The outcome of the engagement exercise will be presented to CCG and hospital trust boards, published on CCG and trust websites, and will be shared with the health and social care overview and scrutiny committees in Bradford and North Yorkshire.

People can get involved by:

  • filling in a feedback form available at: www.airedalewharfedalecravenccg.nhs.uk

  • emailing comments to: engage@awcccg.nhs.uk

  • writing to us at: Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) - Stroke, Freepost RTER-LYHC-EJET, Douglas Mill, Bowling Old Lane, Bradford BD5 7JR

  • calling: 01274 237324


To find out more about stroke and how the new service will provide emergency care to help people across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, watch the video on the CCGs’ websites.

Due to a national shortage of stroke consultants, there is a variation in the quality and provision of stroke services across Bradford and Airedale, as there is throughout West Yorkshire, which is why Airedale NHS Foundation Trust started a review of stroke care in the district earlier this year. This highlighted future stroke consultant shortages at Airedale Hospital indicating that the unit would be unable to provide the 24/7 access to the expertise needed by patients in an emergency going forward.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals has already been supporting Airedale’s out-of-hours ‘critical hours’ care for these patients, so moving the two HASU beds to Bradford builds on this and ensures local people have a safe and consistent service, close by, that improves care and the future quality of life for stroke patients.