AN under threat stroke unit has been saved from closure – and will get a £1million investment boost.

NHS England wanted to close Basildon Hospital’s Hyper Acute Stroke Unit and instead send patients to Southend Hospital for vital stroke treatment.

The proposal attracted opposition from patients, hospital staff and MPs to campaign against the decision – as delays in treatment can seriously damage lives.

Now NHS England has abandoned its plans to close the HASU.

Following the news Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group, which sets budgets for the area’s healthcare, is investing £1million into the unit to bring it up to the highest standards.

Clare Panniker, chief executive of Basildon Hospital, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to invest in further improvements in our stroke service. We have worked very hard to ensure patients receive the best care and achieve the best outcomes and this additional investment will enable more services to be provided seven days per week.

“Having already established consultant presence at weekends, we will now be able to add to this with additional therapy and nursing support for the benefit of our patients.”

John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, who campaigned against the closure, said: “Moving the HASU risked patient care. Time is of the essence for stroke patients, and the additional journey time to Southend could have made all the difference. The sensible solution was for this service to remain within easy reach of the local population, and so I am glad NHS England has made the right decision.

“I would like to thank the local healthcare community who rallied to the cause. I congratulate our local CCGs on their £1 million investment in stroke services at Basildon Hospital. This is a vote of confidence in our local hospital, and should do much to reduce stroke mortality and disability in our area.”