HEALTH chiefs are forging ahead with a planned shake-up of stroke services with proposals to open a “centre of excellence” at Royal Gwent Hospital.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board unveiled detailed plans after figures showed that strokes was the third most common cause of death in the country with around 900 diagnosed each year.

The board is planning to slash the number of stroke rehabilitation units and open one hyper-acute centre at the Royal Gwent in Newport to deliver "consistent, high quality care" to patients 24 hours a day.

Health chiefs are also consulting the public on proposals to put more emphasis on stroke prevention, detection and early support discharge as part of the service reconfiguration.

“This proposed model for stroke services has been developed by the multi-disciplinary stroke board and through broader engagement achieved in a series of clinical workshops during 2013,” said the health board in a briefing paper.

“We now want to engage more widely with stakeholders who have an interest in stroke care including stroke survivors, carers and partner agencies to consider the vision and proposed stroke service reconfiguration in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.”

Health chiefs said that acute stroke care and inpatient rehabilitation was currently provided at seven hospital sites.

The health board said that the majority of patients should be discharged home with early supported discharge or community stroke rehabilitation to enable them to regain as much functionality, independence and well being as possible.

The board said that evidence from early supported discharge trials suggested that up to four in 10 stroke patients – 41 per cent – could benefit from returning home early with appropriate support.

Meanwhile, the remaining patients would be transferred to their local hospital for ongoing care, complex discharge planning or end of life care.

The proposals will be presented to Newport council scrutiny committee for community planning and development on Wednesday [April 23].

* Interested parties are also urged to share their views on the planned reconfiguration by emailing the board’s lead for stroke Samantha Crane at