STROKE patients in South Warwickshire are being forced to go Coventry’s University Hospital (UHCW) owing to a lack of specialists.
Those suffering from a mini stroke will now have to be treated at UHCW which is home to one of the top neurological units in the country. Mini strokes are caused when a blood clot temporarily blocks the blood flow in the brain, unlike a full stroke where the blockage is permanent.
And South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) – which runs Warwick, Leamington, Stratford and Ellen Badger Hospitals – believe around 120 patients could be affected annually by the move which will see both emergency and routine patients taken to the Coventry hospital.
The trust’s stroke specialist recently left his position to move abroad and bosses have been unable to recruit a replacement due to a shortage of stroke specialists across the country.
SWFT medical director Charles Ashton said: “This could affect around 120 patients who are at high risk of having mini strokes and are then at risk of having a full blown stroke.
“Currently if you have a stroke then you will already be taken to Coventry for treatment. But this will affect those at risk.
“The important thing is getting the right treatment. We are talking about people who have transient symptoms and have usually been sent by their GP and are being referred for assessment.
“It’s important people get to the place with all the diagnostics and backup. We can’t provide these rapid access clinics everyday like the bigger centres.”
Some patients have expressed concern about the distance to Coventry, the imposing size of the hospital, and difficulty parking.
But Dr Ashton told The Observer he believed most people would be happy to travel slightly further for the best care.