By Joanne Ellul
The first of eight hyper-acute stroke centres and four major trauma centres will open next year, with all of the new facilities expected to open by summer 2011. The centres will offer around-the-clock service and will be run by consultant-led specialist teams.
The stroke centres will provide specialist care to patients following a stroke, after which patients will be transferred to a local stroke unit to continue recovery. The first to open will be at the Royal London Hospital. Centres at Northwick Park Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital, University College Hospital, St George's Hospital, King's College Hospital, The Princess Royal University Hospital and Queen's Hospital will follow.
The trauma centres will treat the most seriously injured trauma patients, such as those with multiple injuries including head injury, life-threatening wounds and multiple fractures. They will be located at The Royal London Hospital, St George's Hospital, King's College Hospital and St Mary's Hospital.
A joint committee of primary care trusts (JCPCT) approved the plans for the centres following a review of clinical evidence and a public consultation led by Healthcare for London. The decision to create the centres follows Lord Darzi's review of health services in London in 2007.
Richard Sumray, chairman of the JCPCT, said: ‘These new centres will save hundreds of lives and prevent long-term disability for thousands of people.' Healthcare for London said that 500 lives a year expect to be saved.
A review of stroke therapies by researchers from the University of Texas found that specialised stroke services are effective in improving acute and long-term outcomes. Researchers said that focusing clinical resources in specialist units provides greater access to the best care, enhances knowledge in the field, and may also facilitate data collection and enrolment in clinical trials.
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