Coventry and Warwickshire will lose 30 stroke beds when existing facilities in hospitals in Nuneaton and Warwick close. All future emergency care for stroke patients will be centralised in Coventry, putting pressure on already-stretched facilities.
Warwickshire patients previously would have gone to more local facilities, but will now be taken to Coventry. Additional ambulance travel times could put lives at risk
Under the plans, 70% of stroke patients who have received emergency treatment will then be discharged to at-home care, at a time when community health and social services are already overstretched and underfunded.
The remaining 30% will be relocated to Nuneaton and Leamington, increasing the cost and difficulties of travel and inevitably reducing visits from some families, just at the time when patients need most support.
NHS managers claim the redesigned service will provide better care, but admit there are "insufficient specialist stroke consultants to operate an improved and effective service within the current configuration." They are essentially making a virtue out of a necessity, reducing emergency treatment locations to match staff shortages.
It's underfunding that is forcing the redesign of services, taking them further away from local communities. And underfunding should be tackled not local people disadvantaged.
Activists from Coventry and Rugby Keep Our NHS Public, including Socialist Party members, have collected nearly 500 signatures opposing the plan to cut stroke beds
Health campaigners and trade unionists should demand a national demonstration to unite the dozens of similar campaigns around the country, with national trade union action to force the end of these Tory 'rationalisations', and win proper national funding for the NHS.