Stroke survivors fear losing support service

Michael Geeson-Brown with his wife Sarah Image source, Michael Geeson-Brown
Image caption,

Michael Geeson-Brown said The Stroke Association had supported him and his wife in the aftermath of his stroke

  • Published

Stroke survivors have said they were left "devastated" by the news that a recovery service may be axed.

Oxfordshire patients started a petition to save the Stroke Association’s Oxfordshire Stroke Recovery Service, which is due to stop on 30 June when it's funding ends.

The association said stopping the service would be “disastrous" for anyone who had had a stroke recently or who might have one in the coming months.

NHS Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) said it acknowledged "the concerns of patients" but the funding had been "for a fixed period only".

The Stroke Association provides tailored support to tens of thousands of stroke survivors in the UK each year.

It said it had helped more than 800 people in Oxfordshire rebuild their lives.

Solicitor Michael Geeson-Brown, 68, from Charlbury, had three strokes last year that left him unable to walk and with a number of other disabilities.

He said the charity had provided him and his wife with advice and information to manage the "emotional impact" in the aftermath.

Mr Geeson-Brown added that without his weekly zoom meetings, it "would be easy to lose a sense of perspective”.

Image source, Carl Vessey
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Carl Vessey said the possibility of the service ending filled him with "a great deal of worry and trepidation"

Carl Vessey, 53, from Banbury, who has also had three strokes, described the experience as "catastrophic” as it had left him with memory problems, anxiety, and "a degree of mobility problems".

“The possibility that the support I received from the Stroke Association may be ending, fills me with a great deal of worry and trepidation - not just for myself but other people in need too," he said.

Nick O’Donohue, the Stroke Association’s associate director for the South East, said the charity was "desperately sorry" for stroke survivors and carers, as they were "extremely worried about how they will cope".

“Stopping the service at this point would be disastrous for anyone who has had a stroke recently or who may have one in the coming months," he added.

A spokesperson for BOB ICB said the finding had been awarded by NHS England for a 12-month pilot project to run from April 2023.

"We acknowledge the concerns of patients, but unfortunately, this funding was for a fixed period only and the pilot must finish at the end of June," the spokesperson said.

"The funding for the long-established Aphasia (communication) service provided by the Stroke Association remains in place and the service will continue uninterrupted."

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