Stroke Unit to Move to Charing Cross Hospital

Change for five years while St Mary's is redeveloped

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The NHS is planning to move its stroke unit from the "outdated" St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington to Charing Cross Hospital.

According to Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, this is only to be a temporary move, for around five years, until St Mary's is re-developed.

However Hammersmith and Fulham Council says it is a "victory" for Charing Cross and a blow to the local NHS efforts to strip the Fulham Palace Road hospital of its best units and sell off part of the site.

At a board meeting for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust held on May 27, plans were revealed to move the St Mary’s unit in Paddington because it was based in "old and outdated facilities".

By contrast, NHS bosses praised the "larger, modern facilities at Charing Cross Hospital" in the official report.

" Moving the stroke unit out of the ailing St Mary’s to the excellent facilities and clinical results of the Charing Cross unit was an obvious choice," said Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

" And now that they’ve admitted how good the Charing Cross unit is, the NHS should keep the unit at Charing Cross permanently. And this shows our steady pressure on the NHS is paying off."

Critics of the plan to strip Charing Cross and other West London hospitals of specialist units say that St Mary’s is inaccessible to a lot of local patients and too close to a similar unit at University College Hospital in Euston Square.

During the year 2014-15, Imperial treated 2,124 patients at the existing stroke units in Charing Cross, while treating only 186 at St Mary’s.

According to NHS bosses, the enlarged stroke unit at Charing Cross would:

Provide 24 hour availability of MRI scanning service
Reduce the average length of stay for all stroke patients
Have the best trained stroke specialist teams.

An Imperial spokesman said: "The stroke unit at Charing Cross Hospital has performed very well."

The move is expected to be formally agreed later in the summer.

June 12, 2015