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Frequently asked questions: Improving hospital stroke care


Below we’ve listed some questions about the proposal to create a Comprehensive Stroke Centre at Aintree University Hospital that might not be covered in the main booklet.

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Can the current Aintree site accommodate the plans for a Comprehensive Stroke Centre, or would additional space be needed?

Yes, the current Aintree site could accommodate the Comprehensive Stroke Centre.


Would these proposals put extra pressure on North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), by increasing travel for some patients?

NWAS has been involved in this project so far, which has also involved modelling future activity if the changes went ahead, and no issues have been highlighted.


Has the money required to make the changes (known as the capital investment) been agreed?

The NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside has recommended that the proposals for stroke are a priority for funding support, subject to the outcome of this public consultation. NHS regulators only allow us to begin a public consultation if they have assurance that funding plans are in place.


If stroke services change, what would be the implications for staff?

One of the reasons these proposals have been developed is because local stroke services need to be more sustainable. There is a shortage of stroke doctors, nurses and other specialists, and our current local expertise is spread across three sites. It would be easier to fill rotas at a single specialist centre, and staff would have more opportunities to develop their skills and experience. Also, the proposals include plans to increase the number of staff working in local services.

The hospital trusts involved have been engaging with staff throughout the review of local stroke services – many staff were involved with workshops to develop and refine potential options – and these conversations will continue throughout the public consultation period. If the decision was taken to go ahead with these changes, then further engagement with staff would take place.


What impact did the changes to stroke services in Manchester and London have?

Both London and Manchester have centralised their stroke services. The changes made in London have been estimated to save an extra 96 lives per year, and reduced the amount of time that people spend in hospital. In Manchester, changes have reduced the amount of time that people spend in hospital, and increased the number of people receiving clinical interventions (treatments). A number of studies looking at the impact of the change are available online, including on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) website.


Has the impact on intensive care and critical care services been considered?

This has been factored into modelling for the new service.


How long will the service take to introduce, and will there be the required staffing levels?

If, following public consultation, the decision was made to go ahead with the changes, it’s likely that there would be a phased approach which would take around two years to implement. We hope to have a decision about whether the changes will go ahead by autumn 2022.

One of the aims of centralising stroke services would be to improve staffing levels by bringing specialist teams together.