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TWICE the recognition for stroke team as they scoop second award in two months

20 November 2013

Health Care

An "outstanding example of high quality service" is how the judges described Southend University Hospital’s already highly-regarded stroke team after it earned another national award – the second in as many months.

The team won at the finals of the prestigious Health Service Journal 2013 awards on Tuesday night (19 Nov), which had attracted more than 1000 entries from all over the country. 

The multidisciplinary stroke team won in the 'secondary care service redesign' category for its high-quality rapid access TIA (transient ischaemic attack, or mini stroke) service. 

Clinicians working at Southend recognised the significant risk that exists of TIAs being the warning sign of a major stroke and were keen to ensure patients had fast 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 undertook a major overhaul of the TIA clinic. 

Steps taken include:

  • A social marketing project to educate the public to signs of stroke
  • Introduction of a unique online electronic referral system
  • 24-hours, seven days a week 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 

Recent figures show that the stroke team now achieve 100% both for meeting the seven-day target for low-risk patients and treating high-risk patients within 24 hours of referral, and is recognised one of the top three units in the country for its performance.

The news comes just a month after the team took the trophy for 'best use of IT to support clinical treatment and care' at the finals of the national E-Health Insiderawards in October. 

Lead stroke consultant Dr Paul Guyler said: "We are delighted to have to won again as this 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 has been recognised nationally. But, the real reward for us is the fact that patients are receiving immediate treatment to reduce their chances having a life-changing stroke." 

Hospital chief executive Jacqueline Totterdell, added: "We are hugely proud of our stroke services and the team working which has brought tremendous benefits for patients using these services and their families, is something to really celebrate. 

"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. "