Page last updated at 18:38 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 19:38 UK

Medical centres a 'quantum leap'

Surgeons using medical handwash as they scrub-up before performing an operation in an NHS hospital.
Strokes are the second biggest killer in London

Medical bosses claim healthcare in London has taken a "quantum leap forward" after plans were approved for a range of specialist centres.

It is claimed up to 500 lives will be saved following the creation of eight world-class specialist stroke centres and four trauma centres.

The centres will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The first of the centres will open next year, with all of the new facilities expected to open by summer 2011.

The trauma centres will treat the most seriously injured patients, such as those with multiple injuries including head injury, life-threatening wounds and multiple fractures.

The eight hyper-acute stroke centres will provide specialist care to patients following a stroke.

About 11,500 Londoners suffer a stroke each year, of whom 2,000 die. It is the second biggest killer in the city and the most common cause of disability.

"These new centres will benefit all Londoners," said Richard Sumray, chairman of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts.

"They will radically improve the care of stroke and major trauma patients by guaranteeing access to the best clinical expertise and technology, 24 hours a day."

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