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Health commissioners say full range of stroke services for Bedfordshire residents will continue and are set to improve

25 May 2016


Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) wants to reassure local residents that they will continue to have access to hospital based stroke care, including a Hyperacute Stroke Unit (HASU), despite the recent announcement that the HASU at Bedford Hospital, is no longer viable following the resignation of a consultant.

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG ) had already been making plans for a more integrated stroke service to address current service gaps and improve recovery, rehabilitation and survival for patients, which would include access to a well-resourced Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU), appropriate hospital based care and investment in community services.

BCCG’s plans for improved stroke services are based on strong clinical evidence from the Stroke and Cardiovascular Strategic Clinical Network (for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes), and the future provision of stroke services is being included in the consultation for the Bedfordshire and MK Healthcare Review. 

In the meantime, the stroke service at Bedford Hospital (BHT) will continue for the next few weeks and stroke clinicians and managers from BHT and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) are already working closely together on a joint network approach for the future provision of HASU and hospital based stroke rehabilitation and care. The L&D already treats many Bedfordshire stroke patients on its larger stroke unit which has greater capacity and can offer HASU services on a 24 hour, seven day basis.


Alison Lathwell, BCCG’s Acting Director of Strategy and Service and Redesign said: “Hyperacute stroke services typically have patients for the first 72 hours after admission. They provide expert specialist clinical assessment, rapid imaging and the ability to deliver thrombolysis where appropriate. This is the clot busting drug given in the early stage of a stroke which can have a significant impact on survival and recovery.

Clinical evidence shows that at  least 600 stroke patient admissions a year are required to provide sufficient volume to make a 24/7 hyperacute stroke service clinically sustainable, and to maintain the expertise required to ensure good outcomes for patients. Bedford Hospital’s stroke unit has typically received around 250 stroke patients a year and its HASU is available from 9am -5pm on weekdays only.”

As commissioners, BCCG will ensure that a high quality hospital based HASU service continue to be available to the whole population of Bedfordshire, while we also continue with our plans to improve stroke services.”

Commissioners will be working closely with Bedford Hospital, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, the Stroke and Cardiovascular Strategic Clinical Network and NHS England throughout the process.

For further information, contact the communications team on 01525 864 406, communications@bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk

Notes to editors

The East of England stroke specification, developed by the Stroke and Cardiovascular Strategic Clinical Network based on the latest clinical evidence, recommends:


·         Hyper Acute Stroke (HASU) should deal with a minimum of 600 strokes a year

·         Patients are seen by the stroke team within 30 minutes

·         Patients should be scanned within one hour

·         24/7 thrombolysis in-house or use of telemedicine to provide thrombolysis

·         Ability to admit to HASU within 4 hours after arrival at A&E

·         Daily ward rounds – including weekends

·         Access to fully monitored beds for the first 24 hours

·         Access to therapy 7 days a week

·         Daily one stop TIA(transient ischaemic attack)clinic for high risk patients



·         Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for the 441,000 people who live in Bedfordshire. This includes hospital, community health and mental health services.

·         BCCG is run by GPs, nurses, hospital doctors and other clinicians – the people you see whenever you come into contact with the NHS. All 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members of the CCG which is divided into five areas, which we call localities. These are: Bedford, Chiltern Vale, Leighton Buzzard, Ivel Valley and West Mid Bedfordshire and all of the 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members.

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