Southend University Hospital plans Mobile Stroke Unit project
28 March 2018
Stroke clinicians at Southend University Hospital are leading a three-month project using a Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU), in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) and Anglia Ruskin University. This the first time a Mobile Stroke Unit, a concept developed by the University of the Saarland in Germany, has been tested in the UK.
The Mobile Stroke Unit, which has an on-board CT scanner and
blood-testing equipment, will be staffed by stroke and imaging
experts who can diagnose and start treating patients with suspected
stroke at the scene.
Lead Stroke Consultant at Southend, Dr Paul Guyler explains:
"It's widely known that 'time is brain' when it comes to
stroke. When a patient is suspected to have had a stroke a CT
scan is essential to allow specialists to determine whether the
patient has a blood clot in the brain, a bleed in the brain or
"The scan determines the diagnosis and what treatment happens
next, and the Mobile Stroke Unit brings the scanner and the
clinicians to the patient."
Daniel Phillips, Area Clinical Lead for EEAST, said: "We are
looking forward to working with Southend University Hospital on the
Mobile Stroke Unit project, which would is a first for the UK. The
project aims to dispatch the unit with a doctor, radiologist and
paramedic on board to patients having a suspected stroke in the
Southend and Castle Point and Rochford area. We know that early
treatment of a stroke dramatically improve the outcomes for
Thanks to the generosity of local people, Southend's
stroke fundraising has been very successful and Southend
Hospital Charitable Foundation, Southend Hospital Charity and the
Advanced Surgical Equipment Trust (ASET) have been able to
contribute funds specifically set aside for stroke to support the
The Trust was offered the opportunity, to test the specialist
ambulance in the community for a short period of time. This
was made possible because of the of the strong links between
Consultant Interventional Neuroradiologist Professor Iris Grunwald,
who works at the Trust and also holds the post of Director of
Neuroscience at Anglia Ruskin University School of Medicine, and
her colleagues at the University of the Saarland, Germany who are
supplying the vehicle free of charge.
The unit will be based at Southend to ensure safety and
governance standards are met and Professor Grunwald has been
working with the Trust's stroke team to put plans into place.
Anglia Ruskin University and the team will be evaluating the
information collected during the project.
Professor Grunwald said:
"We know that Mobile Stroke Units work in a densely populated
city through trials carried out in Germany, Norway, Australia and
"The data and learning we gather during the period the vehicle
is in use will be valuable in understanding the benefits and
challenges of using a Mobile Stroke Unit in a more suburban or
rural area, like we have across mid and south Essex."
While the project is limited to a three-month period, the stroke
team are looking to the future and hope that the information they
gather over the 12 weeks will help inform plans to develop stroke
services across mid and south Essex.
Dr Guyler continued:
"Specialist stroke clinicians across mid and south Essex agree
that we should, as a group, aspire to provide the highest quality
services for patients with stroke, which is why we are supporting
proposals for a single specialist acute stroke unit located at
Basildon, and acute stroke units at both Southend and Mid Essex
"This project is completely separate from the STP proposals and,
if the data support a Mobile Stroke Unit providing benefit for the
people of mid and south Essex, we will put forward proposals and
engage with our regulators and local communities to get a
Dr José Garcia Lobera, Southend CCG
Chair and clinical lead for mental health, said "The arrival
of the mobile stroke unit is very exciting news for Southend.
I have been sited on this project from the very early stages and it
has my full support with real potential to reduce time to treatment
and improve patient outcomes."
NOTES: The MSU arrived in the UK on 25
March to ensure the teams involved have adequate time to undertake
the appropriate preparation, training and checks to ensure patient
safety needs are met. We anticipate the MSU will be in action
from late April once all safety, quality and regulatory
arrangements are satisfied.