Medical experts are the best judges

I invite your readers concerned about the development of stroke services in the borough to watch the webcast of the Health Scrutiny meeting held on January 28, which heard some powerful evidence from the leading clinicians from both the Royal Free and UCL

I invite your readers concerned about the development of stroke services in the borough to watch the webcast of the Health Scrutiny meeting held on January 28, which heard some powerful evidence from the leading clinicians from both the Royal Free and UCL hospitals on how stroke services are being improved in our borough. To watch it your readers need to connect with the Camden Council website and click through to Council and Democracy and to the area where webcasts can be found. The stroke service debate starts at around the 1 hour 15 minute mark.

I suggest this because I think clinicians are the best people to explain the exciting developments taking place to create a world class stroke service, which is not emulated anywhere else in Britain as yet, and which could not be provided by our two local hospitals working separately, as suggested by local councillors from Conservative, Labour and Green parties.

The committee learnt that a network of top clinicians has been brought together through UCL Partners to make sure we can offer the expertise of these clinicians on a 24/7 basis.

During the debate Charlie Davie, the clinical lead for stroke services at the Royal Free, said the journey time in an ambulance is not so significant, because it is the time between arriving at the specialist hospital and the potential treatment by clot-busting drugs (for ischemic strokes) that is crucial.


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Paul Glynne, from UCLH, told the committee that going to a specialist hospital with the right people greeting you is the key to providing the best service to stroke sufferers. On matters such as these I think it's the clinicians, rather than politicians who should lead the decision-making on developing acute health services.

The right role for politicians is to challenge the clinicians on their plans, which is the role that the Health Scrutiny Committee carries out here in Camden. The committee agreed to continue to monitor these new developments and will return to this subject in the Autumn when the new Hyper Acute Stoke Unit will be six months old.

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I hope that your readers will now be reassured that the Royal Free's stroke unit is not to be closed (as suggested by the Conservative Party) but in fact expanded under these new plans. I also believe that the mortality rates, and the recovery rates after excellent rehabilitation services at the Royal Free, will improve further in the future.

Cllr John Bryant

Chair, Health Scrutiny, Camden Council

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