AN under-threat stroke unit has been saved from reducing patient services, and will instead get a £1million investment boost.

NHS England announced in February last year it wanted to reduce Basildon Hospital’s Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) and instead send the majority of patients to Southend Hospital for vital treatment.

It wanted to create “super units” in Southend, Colchester and Chelmsford, which would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with patients taken to one of the three centres for critical care within the first three crucial days of having a stroke.

Now NHS England has abandoned its plans to drastically reduce the Basildon unit.

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group, which sets budgets for the area’s healthcare, has also announced it 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 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.”

The cash will mean the unit can offer additional therapy and nursing support for patients.

John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, who campaigned against the changes, said: “Moving the unit risked patient care.

“Time is of the essence for stroke patients, and the additional journey time to Southend could have made all the difference.

“This is a vote of confidence in our local hospital, and should do much to reduce stroke mortality and disability in our area.”