Move for Leeds hospital stroke unit delayed again due to ‘staffing issues’

Plans to move the main hospital unit for stroke patients in Leeds have been delayed by health chiefs, a Leeds City Council meeting has heard.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 11:45 am
The trust had planned to move services over in June this year, before this was put back to the end of September.

It follows Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust’s plans to move the adult inpatient stroke rehabilitation service from Leeds General Infirmary to a new purpose-built facility at Chapel Allerton Hospital.

The trust had planned to move services over in June this year, before this was put back to the end of September.

But senior figures at the trust told Leeds city councillors this week that the move had again been delayed due to problems with staffing, and that a date for the final move was yet to be decided.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Alistair Bailey, lead clinician for stroke services at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, told a meeting of the council’s Health Scrutiny Board: “There has been a delay in the move to Chapel Allerton by a number of weeks. The reason for this delay has been over medical cover in the C6 ward.

“Due to operational and staffing issues in the medical workforce, we saw the potential for senior medical cover to be compromised, which would have serious implications for patient safety.

“As a result, this was a line we felt we couldn’t cross until we had safe solutions. Following discussions about medical cover, we have now reached a resolution and are in the process of setting a brand new date.”

“This is very disappointing for all concerned. Communication with patients and staff was paramount and patients, where possible, received a letter of apology about the delay.

“We have a letter ready to go for when the new date is confirmed.

“The staff were understandably disappointed with the delay, but they understand the patients’ safety is paramount.”

The trust’s current unit in LGI provides 27 beds, but has “limited” services, and no room to expand and modernise, according to an NHS report. It claimed the new site would only contain 22 beds, but would provide more efficient and up to date services for patients.

Mr Bailey added the new site would increase the stroke centre’s capacity and would be easier for families to park and visit relatives.

A representative from the hospitals trust added: “We will still be able to treat the same number of stroke patients but we want to treat them much more effectively.

“We want to more enhance the care of the rehabilitation aspect of stroke care by moving them to a bespoke centre that is designed to deliver those services.”