NHS Tayside leads the way in stroke care

MAIN NHS Tayside leads the way in stroke care - Perth
Members of the PRI stroke team

Patients are now benefiting from improved treatment after NHS Tayside stroke teams transformed the hyper-acute service in Tayside.

The new specialist hyper-acute stroke service, which assesses and treats patients in the first 12 hours after admission to hospital, has been introduced at Ninewells to improve stroke care for people in Tayside.

There is strong evidence that early diagnosis of stroke, and treatment in a specialist stroke unit, delivers better outcomes for patients.  The new service, which was launched last week, sees all Tayside and north east Fife patients having access to a specialist stroke consultant 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.  This was previously not possible across the two stroke units at Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI).

After patients have received this critical treatment they can be stepped down to their local stroke unit, usually around 48-72 hours or when clinically stable to do so.

Ongoing care and rehabilitation following a stroke is provided in Ninewells, PRI, Royal Victoria Hospital and the Centre for Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Stracathro Hospital and Cameron Hospital (Fife). Patients can also continue to receive rehabilitation at home after leaving hospital.

The new service has been developed with support from Scottish Ambulance Service and endorsed by the Stroke Association Scotland.

MAIN NHS Tayside leads the way in stroke care - Ninewells
Dr Matthew Lambert (back, third right) with members of the stroke team at Ninewells

Consultant and clinical lead for stroke at Ninewells Hospital Dr Matthew Lambert said, “We have too many patients dying from stroke or being left with life-long disabilities.  Quickly accessing the right assessments, specialists, investigations and treatments can reduce this impact. This includes seeing a stroke specialist, being admitted to a stroke unit, being assessed by therapists and, where clinically appropriate, receiving emergency treatments to remove blood clots such as thrombolysis or thrombectomy.

“Having a specialist unit for admissions at Ninewells will mean people will be able to access stroke expertise seven-days-a-week rather than the previous Monday-Friday, nine-five service. It also makes best use of the limited specialist workforce available in Scotland so makes our service more sustainable.

“Moving to a single admission site will also support proposals which are currently being developed to establish Ninewells Hospital as a regional centre for the delivery of thrombectomy for the North of Scotland.

“Our new model for hyper-acute stroke care has been developed by the clinical stroke teams who work across Tayside and I would like to thank everyone for their hard work over the past few months to ensure we have been able to implement this new service with minimal disruption.”

Andrea Cail, Director of Stroke Association Scotland, said, “We welcome and support the announcement by NHS Tayside of a new hyper-acute model of stroke care. We believe the service will enable people to be assessed quickly 24/7 and then have access to thrombolysis if they are eligible for it and potentially thrombectomy in the future.

“Given you are more likely to have a stroke and die from a stroke in Scotland, compared to other parts of the UK, it is very encouraging to notice the thirst for change in Tayside to improve stroke treatment and care.

“We want to see every Health Board in Scotland looking at the evidence available on the benefits of reorganised stroke care, to consider rebalancing the unwarranted variations in acute stroke care in Scotland.”

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