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  • This is the biggest project we have been involved with in the last few years, in terms of impact and influence GIS has had on NHS decision making.

    Trevor Foster, SWCS GIS Manager

In spring 2014, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group looked into how a proposed centralised stroke service, based at Taunton Hospital, would affect the population of Somerset as a whole.

Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) data from OS provided critical evidence leading to Somerset CCG keeping stroke services at both Yeovil and Taunton hospitals.

What was the challenge?

Somerset is a large county measuring 1,330 square miles and 70 miles across. Previously, the service review had assumed that closing the stroke services at Yeovil Hospital would benefit patients clinically. However, they needed a sophisticated analytical tool to confirm this, as well as seeing how the proposed changes would impact them.

What was the solution?

The South West Commissioning Support (SWCS) Unit’s Geographical Information System (GIS) team used innovative analytical techniques with MapInfo Professional, RouteFinder and Basemap’s TRACC system – designed to quickly and accurately calculate various travel times.

Maps and reports were produced showing travel access times to the two current hospital sites at Taunton and Yeovil. These included blue light emergency transport times, population numbers within travel times, and locations of stroke cases.

What were the outcomes?

Complex information on travel times presented in an easy to understand way.

  • Evidence-based information resulted in accurate decision making.
  • Results showed that the 60 minute call-to-door target time for stroke patients would not be achievable for many patients in the area.
  • Decision was made not to close Yeovil Hospital as a stroke centre.
  • Methodology / techniques easily replicable for other geographical areas.

The products used

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