THE centralisation of county stroke services in Worcester is providing better care to patients, according to the latest statistics.

The change came into effect in late July, when stroke beds in the north of the county were closed down in favour of an enhanced operation at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Centralising stroke care has produced significant improvements when it has taken place elsewhere in the country and it is a practice backed by the Stroke Association.

And early figures now suggest that the move is having the intended impact for patients in Worcestershire.

During August, more than 95 per cent of patients were admitted directly to the new unit. The figure for June, before stroke services were centralised, was 85 per cent – while the national target is 70 per cent.

In the same month more than 95 per cent of patients spent more than 90 per cent of their time in a specialist stroke bed. The national target is 80 per cent while Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust’s overall figure for 2012-13 was 79 per cent.

As part of the centralisation, the stroke unit at Worcester has been expanded to provide an acute stroke ward, two additional specialised consultants, a dedicated nursing team and consolidated support from physiotherapists, dieticians, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists.

Jane Schofield, interim director of emergency care at the acute trust, said feedback from patients and carers had supported what the statistics are saying.

“This is all part of a bigger journey to make a modern stroke centre in Worcester,” she said. “Centralising services in this way has been trialled nationally and it is proven to save more lives. “I’m pleased to say that this move has been a success for our patients.”

Chairman Harry Turner put a vote of thanks to stroke staff on the record at a trust board meeting.

“In just two months we have seen a 10-point increase in both the metrics, which I think is incredible,” he said.

Chief operating officer Stewart Messer said: “The whole point of centralising stroke services was that it is a proven strategy for improving outcomes for patients. But to achieve that in the first two months is absolutely a huge success.”