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Southend stroke team lifts national trophy

11 October 2013

Health Care

Southend University Hospital’s stroke team has collected a prestigious national award for designing an online referral form to assist GPs in identifying at-risk patients.

The jubilant team took the trophy for 'best use of IT to support clinical treatment and care' at the finals of theE-Health Insiderawards, held at London's Roundhouse Theatre.

The foolproof referral process for patients showing symptoms of transient ischaemic attack (TIA), or mini stroke, was developed by consultant Dr Devesh Sinha with design help from senior application manager Philip Crofts. The GP 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.

The Southend team was up against some heavyweight competition including Bart's, Moorfields eye hospital and The Christie.

Presenting the awards,E-Health Insidereditor, Jon Hoeksma, said that all 250 entries for this year's awards had proved how 'time and again teams had gone beyond their job description because they care passionately'.

He told the 700 guests: "You are the giants on whose shoulders others will want to stand. Every one of the entries represents a huge amount of commitment and hard work to provide a higher quality and more responsive health service."

Southend's winning system supports the GP in making the correct risk calculation and prevents dangerous delays in referring the patient to specialist treatment.

Dr Sinha said: "The patients also automatically receive information about TIA and what to expect next in their treatment which can be empowering for them.

"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 adopted around the country to improve stroke care nationally."

The team's success is just the latest in a succession of awards this year. The hospital's innovative snack round scheme won a Patient Safety 2013 Award organised by theNursing Timesand theHealth Service Journaland earlier this month 78-yearold diabetes nurse Jackie Reid was named 'most inspirational' in this year's Inspiration Awards for Women.

Meanwhile, renal nurses Georgie Pharro and Lis McNally will learn on October 30 if they have won theNursing Timesaward for 'enhancing patient dignity' with the help they give patients in end-stage kidney disease.

Hospital chief executive, Jacqueline Totterdell said: "The stroke team's success was richly deserved. These awards make me immensely proud. I know how much excellent work goes on around the organisation day in, day out - but it is so good to have it recognised more widely! "


With pic: the award-winning stroke team with Dr Sinha third left