Somerset stroke survivor speaks out as cuts to patient aftercare loom

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 January 2017

Nicky Livings

Nicky Livings

Archant

Vital stroke services in Somerset face 'devastating' funding cuts, leaving one survivor to warn she would have 'been a vegetable' without its support and care.

Somerset’s Clinical Commission Group (CCG) and Somerset County Council will be unable to continue funding services from The Stroke Association.

The charity currently provides a stroke recovery service and an emotional support service for patients looking to get back on their feet after having a stroke.

Due to cuts in funding, these services will now be unavailable from April this year. The latest public health figures revealed that in 2015, 12,500 people in Somerset had a stroke.

Nicky Livings, aged 61 and from Burnham, suffered a stroke in 2013, having lost her son very suddenly, but she has also battled a disability due to a spine condition.

Mrs Livings told the Mercury the service is ‘crucial’ for the ‘life-changing’ implications which a stroke has on people.

She said: “Nobody can prepare you for it. I am an ex-nurse and midwife but I did not know anything about stroke until I had one. The Stroke Association was very supportive. They made sure I was getting extra care from their carers and they couldn’t have been better. Without them I don’t think I would be where I am now. I think I would be a vegetable.”

Somerset County Council and Somerset CCG issued a joint statement on the issue.

It said: “The range of support available to stroke patients, their families and carers has improved since this service was started in 2008. We are confident that other services now available will be able to meet the needs of those currently being supported by The Stroke Association.

“We have offered to help the association explore options for other local funding and will be working with them to ensure a smooth move to alternative services. There are unprecedented pressures on all our budgets and it’s essential that we make the limited funds support as many people as possible.”

Jacqui Cuthbert, regional director for The Stroke Association in the South West said: “We are calling on residents in Somerset to get in touch with their local councillors and the CCG to work together to stop this devastating blow to the local community.”

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