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Last Chance To Share Views On Shaping Services For Heart And Stroke Patients

Date published: 17 January 2012

Patients and members of the public have just days to share their views about changes to heart and stroke services that will affect residents of Rochdale, Bury, Oldham, North Manchester and parts of Rossendale, particularly Whitworth and Bacup.

The consultation finished on 14th January and the closing date for the return of questionnaires is 28th January. To date, more than 80 information sharing events have taken place, including 17 public roadshows where over 1,000 people were spoken to individually. There has also been a range of focus groups and targeted activity including events aimed at young people, ethnic minorities, those with certain medical conditions and the elderly. More than 100,000 documents have been distributed.

Keith Wright, Chair of the Healthy Futures Joint Consultation Committee, says: “We are really pleased with the response to date and have received some useful and informative insight from the public. It’s important that we understand how patients and the public might be affected by the proposed changes. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t already taken part in the consultation to complete a questionnaire and share their views on the proposals and any suggestions they might have on the future of planned cardiology and stroke rehabilitation services.”

The changes proposed in the consultation are part of the Healthy Futures programme of NHS redesign that was agreed by the Secretary of State in 2006. Since then, the majority of the changes have happened. However, medical advances have led clinical specialists and local doctors to review the original recommendations and propose alternative models of care for planned cardiology (heart treatment) and stroke rehabilitation.

The proposals have come about following a review of cardiology services in the North East sector of Greater Manchester by Professor Roger Boyle, the then National Director for Heart Disease in March of this year.

Healthcare experts believe that keeping certain cardiology services at Rochdale Infirmary’s Silver Heart Unit, without the support of other acute services such as anaesthetics and a resuscitation team, would be a serious risk to patient safety.

The proposal for planned cardiology is that complicated and high risk cardiology procedures should be moved from the Silver Heart Unit at
Rochdale Infirmary to Fairfield General Hospital in Bury where essential support services such as intensive care are available.

There are also two possible options for stroke rehabilitation for patients in the Rochdale borough.

The first option for Rochdale residents is to begin their stroke rehabilitation in the specialist stroke centre at Fairfield General Hospital and once clinically
appropriate, they would be transferred into the care of their local community specialist stroke rehabilitation team who would provide similar levels of intensity of stroke rehabilitation to the stroke unit care – but in the patient’s own home.

The second option would be exactly the same as the first, but would also include the opportunity for a small number of Rochdale patients (estimated at 80) to return to the borough from Fairfield General Hospital into a new ‘step-down’ non-urgent community inpatient facility for ongoing rehabilitation. These would be patients who could not go straight home with support.

More details, including a questionnaire, can be found at or by calling 0161 655 7422 or emailing