PATIENTS battling one of the UK’s deadliest conditions could benefit from a £300,000 boost to York Hospital’s stroke unit.

Every year an estimated 600 patients are treated at the unit for stroke, called the silent killer because so many people in the UK are unknowingly suffering from undiagnosed high blood pressure – the single biggest risk factor. Now a major overhaul is being planned of the facilities at York Hospital to improve patients’ recovery with the launch of the STAR (Stroke Treatment And Rehabilitation) Appeal which aims to raise the necessary £300,000 with the help of the people of York and North Yorkshire.

Sue Beckett, deputy directorate manager for Elderly Medicine at Wigginton Road, said: “Stroke is the biggest cause of disability and affects people of all ages. The STAR Appeal will greatly improve the environment for stroke patients during their inpatient stay.

“There are so many ways to support the appeal whether you are an individual, a school, college, company or a group or association.”

The money will be used to overhaul a flat and kitchen area, used to rehabilitate patients before they return home.

The kitchen is to be doubled in size and fitted with new units making it more suitable for patients in wheelchairs. The area is used to enable those who have had a stroke to re-learn basic skills such as buttering bread.

The flat is described as a “halfway house” for patients before they return home, where they can live independently but benefit from the 24-hour care provided by hospital staff. Under the plans the flat would be modernised and made more homely.

The first improvement on the ward itself will be the installation of a system of track hoists used to make it easier for those debilitated by a stroke to get in and out of bed.

Janet Heppell, ward sister at the unit, said staff and patients were excited that the much-needed upgrade would soon be on the way.

“It’s not just the nursing staff who are looking forward to this but every member of the team,” she said. “It’s going to be a whole improved service.

“We have a multi-disciplinary team here and the ideas and input have come from every member.”

She said the ward took stroke patients of all ages, with some as young as 18.

“A stroke can happen to anyone,” she said.

The hospital is now hoping local schools, businesses, organisations and individuals will hold fundraising events to help reach the target.

Anyone who would like to support the appeal is invited to the launch, where they can learn more about how to get involved.

It will take place in the Post-graduate Lecture Theatre at the hospital on Wednesday, November 23, at 6.30pm and guests will include the Lord Mayor of York.

For information on the event, or to find out how to make a donation, phone Lucy Watson on 01904 721737 or email

Information on fundraising ideas and the appeal will also be posted on the appeal section of the hospital’s web site at

case study

‘I don’t know what I would have done if there wasn’t a service like this’

JOAN Livsey is one of the many patients to have been treated at York Hospital after suffering a stroke, and is urging others to throw their weight behind the £300,000 STAR Appeal.

The 82-year-old, who is hoping to return to her Selby home soon, was referred to the unit last week by her GP and praised staff on the ward where she has been looked after.

“I didn’t realise I had had a stroke,” she said. “I came up here because it started with my leg not feeling right. I went to the doctor and he told my son to get me straight away to the hospital.”

Joan, who was diagnosed with a type of stroke caused by a clot on the brain, said the care she had received on ward 39 had been “brilliant”.

“I don’t know what I would have done if there wasn’t a service like this,” she said. “I would definitely urge people to give to this campaign because you never know when you could have a stroke yourself.”

Eyes on the prize

York-born artist David Baumforth is staging a prize draw to win one of his paintings, with proceeds going to The Stroke Association.

The draw will be launched today, at the same time as the Pyramid Gallery in Stonegate unveils its Christmas Collection featuring 15 paintings by David and various other works by more than 100 British artists. David is donating a watercolour painting called “The Majesty of York, Autumn Evening”, worth £650. He chose to donate proceeds to The Stroke Association because he had a stroke 19 years ago, while in his 50s.

Tickets for the prize draw cost £3 and are available from the Pyramid Gallery until midday on Christmas Eve, when the winner will be chosen.

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A plea to us all

EVERY year, an estimated 600 patients are treated at York Hospital for a stroke. It is a condition known as the silent killer, because so many people suffer from undiagnosed high blood pressure – the single biggest risk factor.

Now York Hospital is launching a £300,000 appeal to overhaul its stroke unit. This is a hugely worthwhile appeal. Hundreds of very vulnerable patients will benefit.

The hospital is inviting us all to hold fundraising events to help reach the target. We look forward to the people of York getting stuck in with their customary generosity and imagination.

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