Seven day a week stroke services are set to be introduced in Suffolk from January 6.
Both hospitals currently accept emergency stroke patients 24/7.
The changes being introduced at both Ipswich Hospital and West Suffolk Hospitals will mean that new patients will now have access to a consultant stroke specialist and a rehabilitation team within 24 hours.
This improvement follows a review of stroke service provision by the Stroke Project Review Board, a collaboration of local health organisations led by the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.
As part of the review a commitment was also made to invest in an enhanced early supported discharge service (ESD).
The ESD, which is a new service, will provide a package of rehabilitation to those acute stroke patients who have been discharged from hospital and will improve a patient’s chances of recovery as well as offer support to carers.
Healthwatch Suffolk ran an independent public engagement exercise to collate views on how the ESD should best operate, with the 124 responses received having a direct impact on how the service has been designed.
A procurement exercise is set to begin to identify a provider for the service.
It is expected the new Early Supported Discharge service will operate from autumn 2014.
Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG said: “The decision to commission improved stroke services will deliver real benefit to around 1000 patients who suffer an acute stroke each year.
“It is important that those patients get the best possible care so they have the best chance of a full recovery.”
Welcoming the next stage in delivering the ESD, Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of the NHS West Suffolk CCG said: “Ensuring acute stroke patients get the right after care is vital.
“Care for those patients doesn’t stop at the hospital door.
“The engagement exercise delivered valuable input which has helped us design an efficient early supported service which puts patients and their family and carers at the forefront.
“We have listened to stroke patients and taken on board their views.”
For all the latest news see today’s (Boxing Day, Thursday, December 26) Echo.