A PETITION has been started to save a specialist stroke unit at Barnsley Hospital that is set to close.

It emerged last week that the unit that deals with people in the crucial first few hours after they have had a stroke - the hyper acute stroke unit - is set to close and patients will be sent out of town to either Doncaster, Sheffield or Chesterfield for the first 72 hours of care, or until medically stable.

The units are being reviewed across South Yorkshire by Commissioners Working Together, a group of eight NHS clinical commissioning groups and NHS England.

Disgruntled locals have hit out at the plan to close the unit, and local campaigner Andrew Bogg has started a campaign to save the service.

The petition - which has gathered nearly 1500 signatures - states: "The first hour of a patient who has had a stroke is vital and the following days essential when looking at their recovery. If there is a delay in treatment then the outcome can be detrimental to a patients recovery.

"It is hard enough for a patient and their relatives at such a time but to have them many miles away and could face a long journey to visit their relative puts extra stress on the whole family. Keep services local for best patient outcome."

Click here to view the petition.