Plans have been unveiled which could see stroke services transferred from St Mary’s Hospital to Charing Cross.
The move by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is being viewed as a short-term measure while its “old and outdated facilities” are brought up-to-date.
But it is being seen as a victory for campaign group Save Our Hospitals and others who are fighting controversial NHS plans for north-west London.
The NHS Trust is asking patients, carers, residents and other stakeholders about proposals to bring its inpatient stroke services together at Charing Cross Hospital later this year in order to improve care quality and outcomes as soon as possible.
It would see the services moved to Charing Cross for five years while the revamp work is carried out.
It was agreed, as part of the 2009/10 London-wide stroke service re-organisation, that the trust should ultimately run an integrated stroke service out of St Mary’s Hospital so that patients can benefit further from co-location with the major trauma centre there.
Currently, the trust operates a 20-bed stroke unit at Charing Cross Hospital and a 14-bed stroke unit at St Mary’s Hospital, as well as a 20-bed hyper acute stroke unit (HASU) at Charing Cross.
Deputy medical director Dr William Oldfield said: “By creating an integrated stroke service at Charing Cross Hospital, we can make better use of our specialist staff and facilities, so that all of our stroke patients can have seven-day access to specialist stroke clinicians, therapy and MRI scanning facilities.
“We will also be able to expand our gym and provide better education and training opportunities for our staff.
“We want to make sure we have explained our proposals clearly and understand what patients and local residents think about them, especially to work through any concerns and ideas.”
Hammersmith & Fulham Council is one of the Labour-run London boroughs fighting the controversial Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) programme and called the development “a victory for Charing Cross Hospital”.
“Moving the stroke unit out of the ailing St Mary’s to the excellent facilities and clinical results of the Charing Cross unit was an obvious choice,” said Stephen Cowan, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
“And now that they’ve admitted how good the Charing Cross unit is, the NHS should keep the unit at Charing Cross permanently. And this shows our steady pressure on the NHS is paying off.”
Subject to feedback, the changes will take place later this year, before the winter period.
To see the plans in detail and have your say go to www.imperial.nhs.uk/aboutus/ourorganisation/proposedcolocationofourstrokeservices/index.htm.