A major service review recommended that closing the stroke services at Yeovil Hospital would benefit patients clinically.
However, the review posed the following challenges:
- Research into how the proposed changes would impact such a large county, measuring 1,330 square miles and 70 miles across, was critical before any decision was implemented.
- A sophisticated analytical tool was needed to confirm the review's findings.
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, private and public transport options, population numbers within travel times, and locations of stroke cases.
- Complex information on travel times and the potential implications on patients was presented in an easy to understand way. This evidence-based information resulted in accurate decision making
- The GIS study confirmed that the clinical benefits of closing Yeovil Hospital would be less than anticipated. In fact, the increased travel times would have a critical impact on the speed of treatment for many stroke patients
- The critical evidence informed the planning process and led to Somerset CCG deciding to retain both stroke services, substantially altering the direction of the review
- The methodology and techniques used are easily replicable for other geographical areas.