Scarborough Hospital stroke services to be permanently moved to York

A move to send stroke patients from Scarborough to York is set to be made permanent, the NHS trust in charge of the town's hospital has confirmed.

Since 2015, the vast majority of stroke patients who arrive at Scarborough A&E have been transferred to the hyper-acute stroke unit at York Hospital an hour away by road.

Patients would first go to Scarborough Hospital for their assessment, CT scan and thrombolysis treatment before going to York in what was termed a "drip and ship" model.

In 2020 the decision was taken on safety grounds to change to a direct admission to York model in order to get patients to the hyper-acute unit quicker.

Health bosses said evidence appears to suggest that even with the extended travel times the ability of the service to treat people has improved.

Following a review York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is now recommending that the change becomes permanent.

Simon Cox, North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group's East Coast Programme Director told a meeting of the county council's Scrutiny of Health Committee today that the process would now begin to make it a permanent change.

He said: "Even with a journey time of approximately an hour from Scarborough, Scarborough patients are now receiving hyper-acute care much quicker than they were previously where there could be anything up to six hours before they were into a hyper-acute unit and seven hours or more before they were seen by consultants.

"So, the evidence appears to suggest that even with the more extended travel times the ability of the service to treat people has improved, as indeed it has for patients in York."

He added: "Even though there is an extended travel time, the speed at which people actually receive their thrombolysis at hospital has actually improved."

Mr Cox said there had been 241 stroke patients from Scarborough postcodes in the last year, down from the expected figure of 300 due to the pandemic.

The average time to get them to York was 51 minutes.

The Scrutiny of Health Committee voted to endorse the permanent change of the service.