In February 2022 the Healthier Together Integrated Care System (ICS) agreed changes to stroke services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).
Between 2017 and 2022, public and patient partners via the Stroke Health Integration Team (HIT), helped to influence these changes to ensure that they reflected the needs of people who had had a stroke, as well as their families and carers.
‘Patient and Public Voice in Stroke Service Redesign: A case study’ by Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre, explores how public and patient partners contributed to the reconfigured stroke care pathway, and celebrates the role of patient and public involvement in health and care service development.
It examines how embedding people with lived experience of stroke in the Healthier Together Programme Board, and in the co-design of stroke services in BNSSG, helped to ensure continuity, drive accountability and amplify the patient voice.
It finds that patients and the public were of critical value in shaping proposed service changes, which was acknowledged by the BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group in March 2021. For example:
- they influenced the wording used in the options appraisal and related communications.
- they contributed directly to the selection of a single hyperacute stroke unit for the region.
- they were instrumental in building good relationships across different providers of services in the reconfigured pathway.
- through existing contact with local voluntary sector organisations, they helped to achieve a significantly enhanced offer for the Integrated Community Stroke Service
- they were heavily responsible for ensuring that people with aphasia were able to respond to the public consultation
- the Service User Group made sure documents were accessible to those who had had strokes, and to more diverse communities.
It also recognises that this model of patient and public involvement, pioneered by the Stroke HIT, could be applied effectively to other areas of health and care service development.