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Top marks for Northamptonshire's stroke services

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Stroke patients in Northamptonshire are receiving the best care in the UK, according to an independent study.

Northampton General Hospital - which provides hyper acute, acute and rehabilitation stroke services for the county - achieved the highest possible rating in a national audit of stroke services.  This is the eighth time in the past nine audits that NGH has achieved this superb score, placing the stroke service at NGH in the top 25% of stroke services in England.

For patients these top scores show that they are receiving vital treatment much faster than the national average. On entering the hospital patients who are suspected of having a stroke, are assessed and receive a vital CT head scan on average 30 minutes after arrival, significantly quicker than the national average of 50 minutes.

Alongside this, thrombolysis treatments, administering medicine to break down blood clots, are delivered to patients within 35 minutes, with every patient who requires this treatment receiving it within the hour target.

Consultant, Dr Melanie Blake said: “We’re really proud that we’ve sustained our ranking as among the best stroke services in the country. The patients we see rely on us to assess them quickly and safely. It’s a fantastic achievement for the hospital and every department and team that supports our work. It’s a true team effort to get the best possible outcome for every patient we see.”

During the summer of 2018 inpatient care for hyper-acute and acute stroke patients was centralised at NGH, so patients now receive the same quality and consistency of care in one location, wherever they live in the county.  There is also increased rehabilitation support at NGH and at Isebrook Hospital in Wellingborough.  Much of this care is provided by the community stroke team at NGH, which has been recognised as being outstanding.

The SSNAP audit takes place every four months and evaluates how stroke patients are treated against national guidelines.  The latest review covered the period during and after the centralisation.  In addition to the overall A grade awarded to the service, NGH was awarded its first B grade for admissions to the Eleanor Stroke Unit in under four hours.  No trust in the country achieved a higher grade in this category.

Dr Sonia Swart, NGH chief executive and joint Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership lead for bringing care together across NGH and KGH said 'I would like to thank all the teams who worked to help make the stroke transfer work whilst maintaining a consistently high standard of patient care.  Stroke services at NGH were already highly regarded and the centralisation of the service will lead to further development of specialist expertise, with additional investment identified for therapy and specialist psychology.’

SSNAP measures both the processes of care (clinical audit) provided to stroke patients, as well as the structure of stroke services (organisational audit) against evidence based standards, including the 2016 National Clinical Guideline for Stroke.

The overall aim of SSNAP is to provide timely information to clinicians, commissioners, patients, and the public on how well stroke care is being delivered so it can be used as a tool to improve the quality of care that is provided to patients.

For more information about the audit and stroke services at NGH please visit: https://www.strokeaudit.org/

In addition to national stroke audit, NGH’s stroke services were highlighted as outstanding in an inspection report by the Care Quality Commission last year.

Posted on Monday 14th January 2019
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