West Yorkshire and Harrogate event to further improve stroke care

West Yorkshire and Harrogate event to further improve stroke care


Over fifty people attended a stakeholder event in Leeds today [Wednesday 30 May] organised by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and facilitated by The Consultation Institute.


In 2015/16 there were 3,600 strokes in West Yorkshire and Harrogate. The Partnership’s ambition is to have fewer stroke across the area, more lives saved and improved recovery outcomes.


In view of this, work has taken place cross West Yorkshire and Harrogate to look at improving the quality of care and recovery for people who have had a stroke. This includes preventing stroke happening in the first place, improving specialist care, making the most of technology and valuable skilled workforce – and connected high quality rehabilitation.


The aim of the event was to ask people who have had a stroke, their carers and community organisations, including charities such as the Stroke Association, Age UK and The British Heart Foundation for their views on how specialist stroke care (the care people receive in the first few hours and days after having a stroke) could be further improved to ensure services are fit for the future.


The event hosted by the Partnership’s stroke programme members, which includes doctors, ambulance services and public health colleagues, gave people an update on the work to date including findings from a stakeholder event in February and workshops held in March across the area in Bradford, Brighouse, Harrogate, Leeds and Wakefield.


The findings included the need to look at preventing stroke happening in the first place, returning as close to home as soon as possible and seamless access to rehabilitation after a stroke; the important role of community and voluntary organisations and travel time to specialist centres in the first few hours after having a stroke.


Discussions at the event included the need to recruit and retain specialist staff, ambulance travel times, people’s experiences and carers support – both practical and emotional.


Jo Webster, CEO for Wakefield Commissioning Group and Lead Commissioner for West Yorkshire and Harrogate stroke care said:  "It’s very important that we keep talking to people about their experience of stroke care, especially in the design and planning of future services.  Only by listening to people’s views alongside those of consultants, doctors and other health care professionals, can we really start to understand what really matters the most to public and what will make a positive difference to the care we provide – and importantly save lives ”.  


Dr Andy Withers, Chair of West Yorkshire and Harrogate Clinical Forum and Chair of the Stroke Programme said: It was good to see so many people here today. The event was part of an ongoing work programme and a continuation of conversations with the public over the past 18 months. We will be considering what everyone has told us today and applying this alongside what we know already to the next phase of work. The next phase of work will be specifically around improving hyper acute stroke and acute stroke services (hyper-acute refers to the first few hours and days after the stroke occurs). It’s critical that we ensure specialist stroke care services are ‘fit for the future’ and importantly achieve the quality standards we all expect across all of stroke care ”.


Elaine Gallagher, stroke survivor and volunteer for the Stroke Association said: “I had a stroke 20 months ago in my early 40’s. What I heard today all makes sense to me – from rapid access to specialist care, recovery and the role of carers to the tremendous work of local volunteers around practical and emotional support. Joining up care and support is really important if we are to survive stroke and importantly reduce the number of incidences”.


Hillary Rowbottom, past carer of her mother following a stroke and Chair of a Stroke Patient Reference Group said: “In my experience stroke care has improved in some areas and it’s important that we maintain these improvements and ensure more lives are saved. People need the best chance of a good recovery following a stroke no matter where they live”.


Becky Begum, Head of Stroke Support at the Stroke Association, said: “It’s great that these public engagement events are taking place and that stroke survivors are being invited to share their experiences with health professionals. It’s crucial that stroke survivors are involved with discussions about changes to stroke services in West Yorkshire and Harrogate. Stroke is a devastating and cruel condition, and it’s vital that people have the best possible stroke treatment in hospital, but also high quality rehabilitation and long-term emotional support to rebuild their lives at home, in their own community.”


Rob Webster, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Partnership CEO Lead said: The work we are doing is all about saving people’s lives, and giving people the best chance of recovery following a stroke. We need to maximise the opportunities to further improve quality of life for people whilst also reducing a person’s chance of living with a disability afterwards. We recognise that ongoing care should be provided at locations closer to where people live, and people should be transferred to these as soon as possible after initial treatments. Community conversations are vital to the work we are doing”.

You can find out more at www.wyhpartnership.co.uk