Million pound upgrade for stroke services in Bournemouth

Patients at the new stroke unit in Bournemouth have been speaking to Richard Slee.

It's hoped a million pound investment into Bournemouth's stroke unit will transform care for patients, reducing treatment time and how long they have to stay in hospital. Treatment for strokes will now be brought under one roof at the facility at the Royal Bournemouth hospital. The the number of beds at the unit has increased with more people now given access to state of the art technology.

On Monday it welcomed the first of its patients, including Viv Cheshire, who had a stroke 10 days ago.

He's been using the Walkerbot, believed to be the only one available to NHS patients in the country, and it's making a big difference for him."When I came I couldn't move this hand at all and now I can and I can grip with it a bit. Hopefully my legs are better and my balance."

Viv Cheshire is getting back on his feet with the help of the Walkerbot. Credit: ITV Meridian

Having everything in the same, larger ward means a better outcome for patients."Their length of stay in hospital will be shorter, they will have access to all our rehabilitation facilities which includes the walker bot and our therapy garden and our team of specialist staff who are working seven days a week," said lead consultant, Dr Suzanne Ragab.

A thousand people are treated at Bournemouth for strokes every year.The new unit at the Royal Bournemouth hospital is the second largest in the country and the upgrade will increase capacity by 20 per cent.Duncan Barnett had a very serious stroke in April. His life was saved by brain surgery at Southampton.

But he's very thankful for the care he's been receiving in Bournemouth - often provided by the help of the University Hospitals Dorset Charity."Everyone works tirelessly from the porters to the student nurses and health care assistants. It's nice, much bigger and airier. A lot more room for the staff and patients to move about in."

Duncan Barnett has been receiving care at Bournemouth following a very serious stroke in April. Credit: ITV Meridian

This unit is needed because more people are being treated for strokes - thanks to the recent awareness campaign."So people know if they have face or arm weakness or speech disturbance to come to hospital quickly and we are now able to offer some very effective treatments in the first few hours after stroke."The length of stay in this unit depends on the severity of the stroke. Duncan hopes to go home soon - and then in October, have more surgery to repair his skull. Viv is making good progress and could go home next week.

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