NHS England is aiming to roll-out the London model of stroke reconfiguration on a nationwide basis, its updated business plan reveals.
Outcomes for stroke patients have improved in London since specialist care was centralised in eight hyper-acute stroke centres in 2010.
In its updated business plan NHS England sets out an aim to have developed fully approved cases for stroke reconfiguration in two geographical areas by early next year.
The document says the reconfiguration, which will be overseen by medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, aims to build on the “evidence-based model” established in London and “develop a specific case for acute stroke service reconfigurations in two geographical locations by April 2015”.
A spokeswoman for NHS England could not say which areas would be first but noted Birmingham, the Black Country, Greater Manchester and Coventry and Warwickshire were among the areas already working towards a full reconfiguration of their stroke services.
NHS England is looking at flexible models in preparation for the national rollout in recognition that urban and rural areas require different stroke service configurations.
A spokeswoman for NHS England said: “The commitment in the NHS England business plan reflects ongoing work in areas right across England to reconfigure their stroke services and save more lives. We are working with all of those areas to ensure their services are aligned in the best possible way for each area’s unique circumstances, and we expect at least two of these to have fully approved cases by 2015.”
Clinical commissioning groups in Essex were recently proposing a move to the hyper-acute stroke model. However, a report from the chief executive of Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Trust in its February board papers stated: “Due to significant staffing and performance issues identified with East of England Ambulance Service, it had become clear that the move to a single HASU was not viable at this time.”