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Centralised stroke services – 3 months on

Three months after stroke services were centralised in Durham, figures show that more patients are receiving specialist care within twenty four hours and more patients are being given life-saving drugs to quickly restore blood-flow to the brain after a stroke.

Since centralising hyperacute stroke care at University Hospital of North Durham, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has seen:

  • More patients being seen by a stroke team within 24 hours
  • More patients being admitted to the specialist stroke unit within 4 hours
  • More patients being given clot-busting thrombolytic drugs. This treatment is proven to reduce lasting disabilities and could save hundreds of lives every year.

Hyperacute services are one of the most critical components of stoke care that patients need when they are at their most seriously ill.

Since the services were centralised, patients have been receiving high quality care which is meeting the national standards for hyper acute treatment.

Stroke consultant Dr Bernard Esisi says: "When a stroke strikes what matters is getting the right treatment quickly and in the right place. We have seen rapid improvements in standards and the care we are providing over the past three months since we centralised services.

"Patients from across County Durham and Darlington now have rapid access to a stroke specialist and they are admitted directly to the stroke unit without having to be seen in A&E. We are able to provide access to 'clot-busting' thrombolysis treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And evidence shows that patients who are treated on a specialist stroke unit with access to thrombolytic drugs are much more likely to make a full recovery. Patients can also access TIA (transient ischaemic attack) "mini-stroke" clinics seven days a week.

"Good progress has been made in the last three months and we know that people are more likely to survive, make a better recovery and spend less time in hospital if they are admitted directly to a high quality stroke unit and receive specialist care from a co-ordinated team."

Following treatment on the hyperacute unit, patients are transferred to Bishop Auckland Hospital, which provides specialist treatment and rehabilitation.

Published: 3 April 2012

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital