Stroke survivor worried plans to move 'life-saving' services to Taunton will put people at risk

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A stroke survivor from Yeovil says he's worried more people will be put at risk if life-saving services are moved from Yeovil to Taunton under new plans.

Rose Dutchman and her husband Alan were walking their dog in Yeovil when Alan collapsed due to a stroke. 

An ambulance arrived to take him to Yeovil District Hospital for an infusion. 

Rose said: “He was being treated within half an hour of falling down on the grass. He came home within 48 hours. 

“They said he needed an infusion which would take about an hour and by the time he was half way through that infusion he was talking to me and it was fantastic.

“I dread to think what would’ve happened if he’d had to go to Taunton instead of Yeovil.”

It comes as plans were proposed to close the hyper-acute stroke unit at Yeovil District Hospital that would mean patients travelling to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton - nearly an hour away.

But medical professional say the move is necessary due to ongoing issues with recruiting stroke specialists. 

Dr Bernie Marden said: “The truth is we have a limited number of professionals."

Dr Bernie Marden, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Somerset ICB, said: “The truth is we have a limited number of professionals. They need to work closely as teams to be effective and to learn and continue to develop treatment and improve all the time and that’s why we find it difficult to spread that over a large geography.

“We need to get people to the right treatment as quickly as we possibly can. There’s no point driving someone very quickly to find you’re not getting the right care - not just in that moment of diagnosis but in that critical first 72 hours.”

Quicksilver community group has urged NHS Somerset to think again with a petition having gained already more than 6,000 signatures. 

Quicksilver community group has urged NHS Somerset to think again.

Group leader Ray Tostevin said: “Why wasn’t it foreseen that there was going to be a staffing issue years ago? Why does it have to reach the point where the senior consultant here is about to retire, having lead a world-class service here in Yeovil - it just seems too strange.”

Quicksilver will be meeting with NHS Somerset ICB again at the end of the month.