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Best place to have a stroke

The local NHS CCG has issued the following news update reporting on the success rate of Colchester General Hospital, which has one of the largest stroke units in the East of England, with stroke patients, admitting over 70% of patients within 4 hours compared to the national average of below 60%:

Local stroke patients get best care in country, latest figures show

The quality of stroke care coordinated locally by Colchester Hospital is again in the top two hospital trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, according to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). This makes us the best over the last six months, nowhere else having been in the top two consistently. The RCP clinical audit of stroke patients who were admitted to hospital in the three months from October last year shows Colchester was the second best-performing out of the 175 hospital trusts that admit stroke patients directly for acute stroke care. Dr Shane Gordon, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS NE Essex CCG said:

This result is a credit to several organisations, including voluntary organisations who work together to provide not only emergency and acute care at the hospital, but also vital recovery care in the community when patients are safe to leave the hospital. Specially-trained nurses from ACE, the NHS community organisation, help patients to recover as much function as they can in the days, weeks and months after a stroke.

The figures show that whereas on average nationally 58% of people who have had a stroke were admitted to a stroke unit within four hours, in NE Essex it is over 70%.  Perhaps most remarkable is that locally over three-quarters of people are helped by the dedicated Early Discharge Team to get quick, dedicated support to go home or to rehabilitation out of the acute hospital, whereas nationally on average just one quarter of patients are helped in this way. Dr Gordon added:

These figures are the results of a shared determination to get higher standards of care for our patients resulting in less death, disability and better quality of life. But we are very far from having a perfect service, there is much more we can do together to give stroke patients here even better treatment and recovery. Rapid and thorough treatment and recovery for patients can make all the difference to otherwise more serious outcomes for patients and families.

Recently published by the RCP, the audit was welcomed by Dr Ramachandran Sivakumar, consultant stroke physician at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust and its clinical lead for stroke. He said the aim of the comparative information is to improve the quality of stroke care by auditing stroke services against evidence-based standards. Dr Sivakumar said:

Stroke care is very much teamwork and our success is down to a multidisciplinary approach that involves therapy staff, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and dietitians, besides doctors and nurses. While these figures show we are performing extremely strongly, we are certain we can do even better and that is what we are focusing on.

Moira Keating, nurse consultant for stroke services, said:

In my opinion, the entire Colchester stroke team takes ownership of each and every patient and pulls out all the stops to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and achieve their goals.


PAWS May – From Wheelchair to Windsurfer

From Wheelchair to Windsurfer – Peter Parker

Peter Parker – Stroke Vicitim

38 members and 3 visitors attended our May meeting when Peter Parker,  a recovered stroke victim, came and gave us an interesting and informative talk.

Peter told us about what happened to him in 1987, at 44 years of age, when he had a stroke which was not diagnosed for 12 days, even though he contacted his GP, went to A&E, and was sent to a General Ward at Broomfield.  He recovered when he was sent home having only had a week of therapy, using his own initiative, adapting the exercises physiotherapy had given him, brain training to increase concentration, and jogging to give physical exercise.  Patients suffer tiredness, and he still does, and often depression is another factor to be taken into consideration.  He persevered and was able to windsurf across the Channel in 1989, windsurfing being one of his targets when he was so ill.

Things have changed since then with a £12m campaign starting in 2009. If you have symptoms like those covered in F A S T – Face, Arm, Speech, Time –  call 999 – strokes which are treated early give a much better chance of recovery. 1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime with a quarter of them in the under 65’s of which one third will live, one third will have some form of disability and one third will die. Peter has publicised and raised money for the Stroke Association ever since.

Refreshments were available, as well as leaflets about Stroke Awareness, and there was the opportunity to ask questions and obtain more information from our speaker.

PAWS next get-together is on 24th June when D. Clarke will speak about “A Garden Holiday Experience”. Currently membership is full but visitors are very welcome at the cost of £3.50 which includes refreshments.

Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 website. If you would like further information about PAWS please ring one of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510, Jane Banks 01206 735004 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.