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Further accolade for Southend Hospital’s stroke team

23 July 2013

Health Care

A foolproof template for reducing the risk for patients at high risk of having a stroke has put Southend University Hospital in line for a national award.

The stroke team will go head to head with contenders from some of the country's top teaching and specialist hospitals including Bart's, Moorfields eye hospital and The Christie. They have all won through to the finals of the E-Health Insider awards 2013 for 'best use of IT to support clinical treatment and care'.

A simple online referral process for patients showing symptoms of transient ischaemic attack (TIA), or mini stroke, was developed by stroke consultant Dr Devesh Sinha with design help from senior application manager Philip Crofts. The GP in surgery simply uses a drop-down box on the computer which then calculates the patient's risk and advises the GP of what action to take. It ensures that all high-risk patients are assessed, investigated and treated within 24 hours - in line with NICE guidelines. Those at low risk receive an appointment at the hospital's TIA clinic within a week.

Dr Sinha said: "The system ensures that patients are consistently seen in the right place at the right time. It supports the GPs in making the correct risk calculation and prevents dangerous delays in referral to specialist treatment. It has been received very positively by our local GPs.

"The patient also receives information about TIA and what to expect next in their treatment which can empowering for them."

The hospital's results speak for themselves: since the system was introduced, the stroke team has achieved positive results both for treating high-risk patients within 24 hours of referral and for seeing low-risk patients within seven days.

Dr Sinha added: "The system was developed with the help of our colleagues in primary care and IT and our local commissioners - all working together in a positive spirit. It is extremely simple to use and could easily be used around the country to improve stroke care nationally."

The team will hear if it has been successful at the awards ceremony in London in October.

Southend's lead stroke consultant, Dr Paul Guyler, said: "Dr Sinha is to be congratulated for all his hard work on turning the concept into reality and then enlisting the cooperation of our colleagues in both the community and the hospital. It is already proving an enormous benefit to our patients and we are delighted that the work has been recognised."

The success in reaching the finals comes hot on the heels of Southend's innovative snack rounds scheme winning a Patient Safety 2013 Award organised by theNursing Timesand theHealth Service Journal.


With pic: Dr Sinha with colleagues in Southend University Hospital's stroke team