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Consultation resumes on proposals for stroke rehabilitation services at Bishop Auckland Hospital

The NHS organisations responsible for planning and paying for health services in County Durham and Darlington are re-launching a 10-week public consultation on proposals affecting stroke rehabilitation services at Bishop Auckland Hospital. 

NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Darlington CCG and NHS North Durham CCG are working together with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) in an effort to ensure care is accessible and meets the needs of the whole population across County Durham and Darlington. 

The initial consultation, scheduled to take place in November 2019, was paused due to the announcement of the general election. 

What happens at the moment? 

At the moment, the majority of the local population who have had a suspected stroke are taken to the hyperacute stroke ward (Ward 2) at the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND). 

On average, patients will spend two to three days being treated on the ward and the majority (80%) then either go home, to a residential or nursing care home, or to intermediate care.  Intermediate care is where someone is medically fit but requires a little more therapy support before going home.  

For those who require longer term acute specialist stroke rehabilitation they are currently transferred to Bishop Auckland Hospital.  This is about 20% of the total number of strokes who start their care at ward 2 at UHND. 

Those patients who transfer to the stroke rehabilitation ward at Bishop Auckland Hospital stay there on average for nearly three weeks.  After that, patients who are well enough go home do so with further therapy provided in the community.  Others are discharged to a community hospital such as the Richardson Community Hospital in Barnard Castle or Chester-le-Street Community Hospital, or receive ongoing care in a nursing or residential home. 

The feedback we have received from patients and their families has identified the need for better transition between hospital and community based services.  The feedback also highlighted that more needed to be done to ensure specialist community stroke services are accessible and effective.  

What might change? 

The CCGs within County Durham and Darlington are committed to more effective community services which are person-centred and deliver care closer to home where possible.  

The CCGs are consulting on two options: 

Option One - Maintain current services, nothing will change 

Option Two - Consolidate stroke rehab services at the University Hospital of North Durham, alongside the current hyperacute stroke unit and ensure robust pathway between hospital and community. 

The CCGs' preferred option is option two.  This is because the CCGs feel that there should be: 

An improved focus on prevention

a more consistent and equitable service for patients across County Durham and Darlington

A model of care that will help to recruit and retain staff

The CCGs are keen to hear the views of current patients and families as well as the wider population of County Durham and Darlington and key stakeholders during the consultation, which will run from Tuesday January 14, 2020 until Tuesday March 3, 2020.

As part of the consultation, there are a number of ways that people can have their say:

Survey - complete the online survey by following the link  alternatively, if you would prefer to complete a paper version, please call 0191 389 8609 please leave your name, email or home address and phone number or you can email

 Online - Further information is available on the CCG websites - see details below or by emailing, or via telephone 0191 389 8609.   

Public meeting - Come along to one of the public consultation meetings.  Four meetings have been arranged across the area: 

You can book a place by clicking on the Eventbrite link next to the meeting details.                                                                                                                                              

Event 1 - Saturday, January 25, 2020, 10am-12pm, Bishop Auckland Football Club, DL14 9AE - 

Event 2 - Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 6-8pm, Great Hall, Durham Town Hall, DH1 3NJ  - 

Event 3 - Thursday, February 6, 2020, 10-12pm, The Witham, Barnard Castle, DL12 8LY - 

Event 4 - Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 1pm -3pm St Augustine Parish Centre, Darlington, DL3 7TG - 

If you would like to attend a meeting, please register at one of the above events or 0191 3898609 and please leave your name, email or home address and phone number and which event you would like to attend. Or you can email

Dr Stewart Findlay, chief officer on behalf of the CCGs said: "Stroke is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK and the single largest cause of complex disability. 

"In County Durham and Darlington stroke remains a major cause of death and disability with around 1,000 people suffering a stroke each year. 

"We have launched this public consultation as we are keen to hear the views of local people on our proposals for stroke services currently being delivered at Bishop Auckland General Hospital. 

"Our aspiration as local leaders of the NHS is to focus our efforts on prevention and ensure care is accessible and meets the needs of our whole population. Some causes of stroke are preventable and we also know that more care and rehabilition following a stroke can take place in the community. We need to strengthen both areas across County Durham. 

"I would urge people to come along to one of our public meetings to find out more and have their say by completing our consultation survey." 

Background information about the consultation is available on the CCG websites:

'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital