PROTECTION: Supports of the petition, including borough councillor Jane Race (second from the left)
Surrey’s five NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, which are responsible for medical services in the area, are consulting on the future of stroke services in the county – and some believe Epsom’s 18-bed unit is at risk.
Ashtead resident Samantha Caine signed the petition after her father was cared for at the stroke unit. The 39-year-old mum of one, who lives off Skinners Lane, said: “They told us he was going to die and I truly believe that one of the reasons that he did not was because we didn’t leave his side.
“He was originally at St George’s in Tooting and travelling there every day from Ashtead was killing me. When he was transferred to Epsom it was amazing. We could all be involved and be part of his process.
“Losing Epsom would be a travesty for the community and for families and most importantly for stroke victims and their recovery. I just can’t believe they’re even considering it.”
There are five hospitals in Surrey caring for people who have had strokes: East Surrey Hospital, Epsom Hospital, Frimley Park Hospital, the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford and St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey.
Around 2,500 people suffer from a stroke in Surrey every year and doctors say access to specialist care is vital.
Borough councillor Jane Race, who started the petition, said: “It is vital that we retain the Acute Stroke Unit at Epsom Hospital.
“We need to keep the experienced staff to deal with patients on their return from the Hyper Stroke Unit. I am delighted with the huge response from the public, which shows their continued commitment to our services at Epsom Hospital.”
Dr Claire Fuller, clinical lead for the commissioning group’s Surrey-wide stroke review, said: “We launched this review to understand how stroke care is provided now and whether there are opportunities to deliver even better care by doing things differently.
“As a GP I have first-hand experience of working with stroke patients and their families so I know how important it is we get it right. While the level of care provided in the county is good, we know that this specialist care is not being consistently provided across all hospitals.
“I understand people locally are worried but it’s really important to understand that no decisions have been made.”
To sign the petition, visit change.org and search “Epsom Hospital”. Take part in the consultation at surveymonkey.com/r/SurreyStroke