Southend University Hospital tops the league for stroke treatment
21 August 2012
Southend University Hospital has been named the best in the
region for treating patients in danger of having a potentially
fatal stroke. And only two other hospitals in the entire country
can better the service they provide.
The figures are released today (August 21) in the UK Carotid
Interventions Audit, produced by the Royal College of Physicians in
conjunction with the Vascular Society. It shows Southend to be way
ahead of other units in the entire midlands and east ofEnglandfor
carrying out operations to remove dangerous debris from the walls
of the carotid artery supplying blood to the brain.
Hospitals are required to carry out the surgery with 14 days of
the patient first experiencing symptoms. Southend has achieved a
88% success rate, compared with just 48% nationally. This puts the
hospital in pole position to achieve the Department of Health's new
much tougher target which calls for patients having their vital
treatment within just 48 hours by 2017.
Consultant vascular surgeon Mr James Brown said: "That is going
to be hard but we are continually striving to do better and we will
make it happen."
Southend's success in getting patients treated quickly is due to
a number of factors:
- A direct access transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or 'mini
stroke' clinic where patients who have experienced symptoms are
reviewed by a stroke specialist. This runs seven days a week and
patients referred by GP, A&E or other sources are seen very
- Round-the-clock availability of a stroke consultant to see
at-risk patients and arrange for the necessary scans to be carried
- Close working with radiologists who carry out the scans
- A team of highly-skilled vascular surgeons to perform the
- Cooperation from anaesthetist colleagues to ensure emergency
operations can go ahead without delay
Mr Brown said: "It depends on the flexibility of the whole team
- we have an excellent working relationship and it is absolutely a
"We have taken out many of the traditional steps in the referral
pathway so that patients can be assessed and treated very quickly.
It is the only way to achieve the 48-hour target.
"Not all strokes are caused by blocked arteries. But when they
are, urgent surgery is vital to prevent a further stroke with
devastating - or even fatal - consequences."