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Winning double for Southend University Hospital’s stroke team

23 August 2013

Health Care

Southend University Hospital’s highly-regarded stroke team is up for another national award – the second in a month*.

The team has just heard it has won through to the final of the prestigiousHealth Service Journal2013 awards, which attracted more than 1000 entries from all over the country. The team has been shortlisted in the 'secondary care service redesign' category for its high-quality TIA (transient ischaemic attack, or mini stroke) service.

Clinicians working at Southend recognised the significant risk of TIAs being precursors of a major stroke and set about ensuring patients had rapid access to appropriate treatment. High-risk patients need to be assessed by a specialist and treated within 24 hours while low-risk patients should be seen within a week.

Working with GPs, commissioners and other community colleagues, stroke specialist, radiologists and vascular surgeons at the hospital set about a major overhaul of the TIA clinic.

Steps taken included:

  • A social marketing project to educate the public to signs of stroke
  • Introduction of a unique online electronic referral system
  •  24-hours access to the stroke team
  • Introduction of a one-stop clinic where patients receive an ECG, blood analysis and MRI brain imaging
  • Stroke team's newly-acquired skills to perform carotid ultrasound
  • New medication for rapid anticoagulation
  • Access to urgent surgical carotid intervention

In a recent audit, the stroke team achieved 100% both for meeting the seven-day target for low-risk patients and treating high-risk patients within 24 hours of referral,

Lead stroke consultant Dr Paul Guyler said: "This is another example of the expertise and innovation we have developed in the team to improve stroke services to patients.

"It is extremely gratifying that everyone's hard work and dedication is being recognised nationally. But, of course, the real reward is knowing that patients are receiving the correct advice and immediate treatment to reduce the chances of them having a life-changing stroke."

Hospital chief executive Jacqueline Totterdell, added: "We are hugely proud of our stroke services. Staff show exemplary team working which has brought tremendous benefits for patients using these services and their families.

"It is appropriate that their efforts have been recognised more widely and that they are now in the running for two national awards."

 

Ends - with pic stroke team

 

*The team is also through to the final of the E-Health Insider awards 2013 (see news release PJS/13/54)