HEALTH bosses are set to centralise stroke rehabilitation beds at a community hospital – in a bid to make the stretched service "more sustainable".
Last year, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust – along with three clinical commissioning groups – put together a proposal to centralise the county's services at Evesham Community Hospital.
The recently-approved plan will mean that from April, patients across the county who need a specialist rehab bed after suffering a stroke will be admitted to Evesham.
Over the past few months, the Trust says it has been "more difficult" to ensure there are enough consultants to cover its stroke rehab sites in Evesham, Worcester and Bromsgrove.
However, some fear the centralised stroke unit will reduce the number of beds for other patients at the Community Hospital in Waterside.
In a letter to the Journal, Mrs V Cutler, of Stow-on-the-World, said her father had received "wonderful" care at the hospital.
She said: "When the new unit is up and running I believe that there will be no beds for the male population of Evesham.
"If my poor dad is ill again and needs a community bed where he will go as there will be no bed for him close to home."
Mel Roberts, the Trust's lead for community care in the south of Worcestershire, said that while the change is not "perfect solution" it is necessary to ensure the service provides safe care.
"We have to make sure the service we provide is safe and gives the best care possible and we believe that at this time, given the issues securing suitable consultant cover, this is best done on one site rather than being spread too thinly across three," she said.
"While we understand this is not a perfect solution we have been talking to patients currently receiving stroke rehab care and their families to get a clearer understanding of what we could reasonably do to make things easier for people who live in other parts of the county, and we hope the offers of things like increased visiting times will make things a bit easier."
The Trust will also support families find public transport links, and will investigate how hospital volunteers can help patients stay in touch with family while on the ward.
The proposal was approved last Wednesday, February 8 by the Board at the Health and Care NHS Trust.