A PENSIONER told how he could have died or been left severely disabled after suffering a stroke had it not been for the specialist staff and equipment at Ealing Hospital.
Anthony Greenwood of Church Road, Hanwell, suffered a stroke in August last year and said it is unthinkable to shut down the much needed unit (due to close on July 19) which helped save his life.
The 70-year-old Master of Bakers said he was unable to speak and the muscles on the left side of his face collapsed and he did not know what was going on.
Mr Greenwood said: "I have diabetes and thought it may be my blood sugar levels which had dropped. But when I got up I couldn't walk and was taken into the ambulance before going to Ealing Hospital - I didn't even know the stroke unit existed.
"I'm an ordinary person and a patient who survived due to the expert care, the specialist nurses and the equipment available at my local hospital. If the unit closes, this poses a real danger to people as time is a crucial factor and patients will be taken to Ealing Hospital where they will need to have all the tests before they're diagnosed as suffering a stroke and then transferred to Charing Cross or Northwick Park and at least two hours would have elapsed.
"I'm very grateful to all the staff for my care and having a stroke has really changed me and my lifestyle - heaven forbid if it does close."
Mr Greenwood's partner, Bala Cumaraswamy, 55, said: "He was murmuring and didn't drink his tea I had made him - I've never seen anyone having a stroke before or even seen the inside of an ambulance.
"When I called the GP I was told to keep talking to him and the ambulance was here in three minutes. Everything was handled so quickly and efficiently and I'm one who can always find fault in anything.
"Anthony could have died, been paralysed or left severely disabled and the short-sighted mentality of saving funds will cost NHS London a lot more with the number of lives lost."
An Ealing Hospital NHS Trust spokeswoman, said: "Discussions continue about the future of stroke beds in Ealing."
An NHS London Spokeswoman confirmed that discussions with the Trust, Commissioners in North West London, the London Stroke Clinical Director and North West London Cardiac and Stroke Network are continuing.