Praise for specialist stroke care in Gloucestershire

Specialist stroke care in the county has received a shining endorsement in the latest findings from a major national stroke audit.

The Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) is a national quality improvement initiative which measures the quality and organisation of stroke care in the NHS.

The latest audit, which covered the period from April – June 2019, highlighted that the specialist stroke unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital has shown a marked improvement and was just one point off receiving a B rating. The new stroke rehabilitation centre of excellence at the Vale Community Hospital in Dursley received an A rating.

Dr Sheena Yerburgh, Clinical Lead for Cardiovascular Disease at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Our stroke team has worked really hard to achieve these improvements, and healthcare staff across the county should be incredibly proud of what these ratings highlight.

The results show that specialist stroke care in Gloucestershire is continuing to go from strength to strength and is helping people to get better more quickly.

The dedicated stroke unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital has demonstrated significant improvements in providing timely assessment and treatment and we are confident that it will improve further in the next reporting cycle.

We are delighted that the new specialist community stroke rehabilitation unit at Vale Community Hospital, which only opened in February this year, received an overall A rating.”

When people suffer a stroke in the county they are taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital where prompt assessment and treatment is crucial to giving them the best possible chance of recovery.

Dr Kate Hellier, Stroke Consultant at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added:

“We have been working hard over the years to improve specialist stroke services for our patients and this independent audit is recognition of the good progress that we’ve made.
In 2012, we brought specialist stroke services together at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH) and in 2015 we established a hyper acute unit there. Concentrating services in this way and following a centre of excellence approach has helped to ensure that patients benefit from the best possible care.

By 2023 we anticipate that more than 1,100 stroke patients a year will rely on our service. The work that we’ve done to date, combined with the continued dedication, professionalism and commitment of our staff, ensures that as a health and care family we are in a strong position to respond to this challenge.”

Following acute medical care at a large hospital like Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, some people will not be ready yet to return home with support. In these circumstances, the dedicated unit at the Vale Community hospital provides therapy and specialist rehabilitation support from experts such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, dieticians and psychologists.

This support is available seven days a week, and a specialist stroke consultant visits the unit on a weekly basis.

Angela Dodd, therapy lead at the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit at Dursley’s Vale Hospital, said:

“We’re really happy to have received an A-rating in our first SSNAP audit. It confirms the high quality care we provide and the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach which provides the best possible environment for recovery after a stroke.

“Our unit opened in February and we’re determined to maintain the standards revealed by this audit so that, in partnership with colleagues across the county, we offer a service that Gloucestershire can be proud of.”

This approach to stroke care, based on national evidence, provides the right care in the right place for patients and ensures recovery and health benefits are improved. This includes supporting people to achieve as much independence as possible in their own homes with our Early Supported Discharge Team. This is a team of stroke skilled rehabilitation specialists such as NHS therapists, therapy support staff and nurse who continue rehabilitation in patient’s own homes.