PLANS to build a stroke rehabilitation unit in Dursley will ‘future proof’ the town’s hospital, a councillor has said.

NHS Gloucestershire’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is seeking to address a gap in provision of stroke care in Gloucestershire.

And Vale Community Hospital has been announced as its preferred location for the new unit, which would be adjusted to meet national recommendations for stroke rehabilitation.

But residents are concerned that the number of beds left in the hospital will be insufficient.

Under the proposals, 14 of the Vale’s 20 beds would be used for stroke rehabilitation, leaving just six beds for general community use.

Residents say that this will render the unit ‘unviable’ and lead to the town losing its community hospital.

But at Dursley Town Council meeting on Tuesday night, Cllr Jane Ball, who is also chair of Vale Hospital’s League of Friends, spoke about the pros and cons of the proposal, and added a new perspective to the debate.

“We had a meeting with a group from the NHS, who said that having the stroke unit in Dursley would future proof the Vale and guarantee community hospital provision for the town.

“And they also said that generally 30 per cent of the beds in the unit are not occupied by local people anyway.

“The Vale is seen as a particularly good option because it has single rooms, the outlook is good, and it has allotments in the grounds, which could help with stroke rehabilitation.”

She added: “If it did become a stroke rehabilitation unit, it would also become a ‘Centre of Excellence’.

“Hospital staff would be really chuffed with that, to be working at a Centre of Excellence, which would include extra training for them.

“But the League of Friends’ members are conflicted about it, because of the the reduction of community beds.”

Public consultation for the proposal has now closed and a decision will be announced later this year.