“Keeping it open and keeping it the way it is – that is the challenge,” a consultant working on the stroke ward at Solihull Hospital has said.
Dr Khaled Elfandi praised the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers working on ward 8 and stressed the importance of keeping the facility running to its full capacity.
The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull Hospital, announced plans for all serious stroke conditions to be initially dealt with at Heartlands before patients were transferred back to their local hospital for rehabilitation.
There have also been claims that the stroke unit and acute medical care ward at Solihull will be merged, prompting fears of a downgrade in services.
Speaking to the Solihull News this week, stroke consultant Dr Elfandi admitted there were concerns for the future of the popular stroke unit and said the focus was to keep the ward open.
“Patients speak extremely highly of this ward and staff and volunteers do a fantastic job,” he said. “It is very important to keep a rehabilitation facility like this open.
“There are proposals for 9 to 5 stroke emergencies to be sent to Heartlands before being transferred back to their local hospital.
“We do not have a problem with this but there is always a concern over whether we would then have the capacity to accept patients back on to the ward.
“There is also the added pressure on Heartlands. The patients will be going through their A&E department rather than coming directly to us to be treated.”
Dr Elfandi attended a cheque presentation event at the stroke ward on Monday after a former patient helped to raise more than £4,000 towards specialist equipment for the unit.
Mandy De Luca, who suffered a stroke four years ago, held a fundraising event at Giovanni’s restaurant in Dickens Heath, which was also attended by comedian Jasper Carrott.
She also helped to raise thousands of pounds to create the stroke unit’s garden, which patients and families can use as part of their rehabilitation treatment.