CONCERNS have been raised that stroke patients from Stratford will be sent to a building which could ‘go up like a tinder box’.
The first stage of the Coventry and Warwickshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) – which covers NHS spending over the next five years in a bid to save £267million – has seen proposals to cut all 12 specialist stroke beds at Warwick Hospital, and remove treatment facilities for those at risk of mini-strokes.
George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton and Rugby St Cross Hospital would also lose 24 stroke beds between them.
All patients from across Warwickshire will instead be taken to University Hospital Coventry (UHCW), where an extra six ‘hyper-acute’ care beds are being made available for those who have just suffered a stroke – taking the total beds up to 12.
But South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public (SWKONP) say fire safety at issues at UHCW could put patients at risk.
The hospital is currently undergoing remedial work after it was found there were structural defects which would enable fire to spread around the building.
The works were set to be completed by August, but the trust is set to miss its deadline.
SWKONP chair Anna Pollert said: “The Coventry and Warwickshire STP are centralising stroke and other services to UHCW, making people travel further to cut services, to a building that could go up like a tinder box.
“Yet UHCW knew about these risks back in 2015.
“Could there be a clearer example of cost -cutting and how making health a commodity simply risks lives?”
University Hospital say they have put plans in place while work is carried out.
A spokeswoman said: “Firstly we can assure our patients, staff and visitors that we remain vigilant in ensuring fire safety standards are maintained at all times.
“Following a review in 2015, we learned of some potential issues with the infrastructure. As a result of these issues, we immediately launched an internal investigation to determine if any further steps needed to be taken to make the site safer.
“This investigation appeared to show that, in the unlikely event of a fire, the structures to prevent it spreading were not as robust as those specified in the original plan for the building.
“We have worked to develop a programme of remedial works, which are in progress. Until they are completed, we have taken steps to strengthen our already robust fire safety procedures.
“We also alerted West Midlands Fire Service to the issue and have been working with them closely.
“These extra steps we have put in place means we can assure patients, staff and visitors that the hospital remains safe while the remedial works are undertaken.”