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National data confirms Southend’s expertise in stroke surgery

16 July 2013

Health Care

Recently published performance data for vascular surgeons has confirmed Southend University’s stroke services as first in Essex and among the best nationally.

The Vascular Services Quality Improvement Programme issued its report on surgical outcomes for consultants last month to reflect the standard of care which patients can expect at different hospitals around the country.

In what was hailed as a historic moment for the NHS, the vascular data was the first of nine specialities to publish surgical outcomes, including death rates.

There are two consultant vascular surgeons at Southend University Hospital who perform carotid endarterectomies on patients at risk of suffering a stroke: Mr James Brown and Mr Matthew Jakeways.

Mr Brown explained: "A proportion of strokes and mini strokes are caused by narrowing of the carotid arteries in the neck - the major blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. For these patients, an urgent operation to clear the artery of build-ups of dangerous plaque can significantly reduce the risk of potentially serious strokes. The sooner a patient undergoes an operation after their first stroke, the less the risk.

"The target is 14 days from symptom to surgery. Here at Southend, our median time is seven days. This is the best in the region and one of the best in the country."

The carotid endarterectomy service is just one element of Southend's prestigious hyper-acute stroke unit.

The unit boasts a rapid-access TIA (transient ischaemic attack or 'mini stroke') clinic open seven days a week; MRI availability seven days a week; a ward-based ultrasound service; access to a stroke psychologist and a newly-created early supported discharge service in conjunction with community colleagues.



Pic: Mr James Brown (left) and Mr Matthew Jakeways (right) with Southend University Hospital's lead stroke consultant Dr Paul Guyler