PERFORMANCE: South east commissioners have issued a critical assessment of stroke services at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust as it seeks to establish a round the clock unit for acute patients.

North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group raised its concerns in board papers this month, which point to a national survey of stroke services, ranked Ashford and St Peter’s in the bottom fifth of a league table of 178 hospitals.

The low placing was based on its performance in hitting the national target for admitting 90 per cent of patients to stroke units within four hours. Ashford and St Peter’s hit this goal in just 53 per cent of cases, the survey found.

The CCG’s May board papers describes Ashford and St Peter’s performance as “worse than the national average and worse than other local Surrey providers”.

Its other providers “appeared to have reached this standard between 70-80 per cent of the time during the most recent audit period”, the report adds.

Ashford and St Peter’s recently announced plans to merge with the Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust, which includes the creation of a round the clock hyper-acute stroke unit.

A spokeswoman for Ashford and St Peter’s said its performance had already improved since the most recent audit in February.

Dr David Fluck, medical director at the trust, said it was working with the Royal Surrey County Hospital on plans to introduce the joint hyper-acute stroke service. “[This] will enable us to increase senior review at weekends as well.”

A spokeswoman for North West Surrey said it welcomed “the trust’s commitment to increase the number of dedicated stroke beds by July this year, and the recruitment of an additional stroke consultant.”