New fast-track service for stroke patients

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is establishing a fast-track clinic designed to help combat the third biggest cause of death and the largest cause of severe disability in the country – stroke.

From Monday, July 1, the trust is launching a new rapid access clinic designed to help with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with mini-strokes in a one-stop shop approach. The clinics will be initially based at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital.

A stroke happens when the brain's blood supply is disrupted, most often caused by a blood clot blocking an artery to the brain, and the loss of oxygen leads to damaged brain cells.

In England & Wales each year:

  • 100,000 people have a first stroke each year – 10 per cent are under retirement age
  • Stroke is the biggest cause of severe disability – affecting 300,000 at any one time
  • Stroke accounts for 13 per cent of all deaths
  • The cost of stroke to the NHS is estimated at £2.3 billion
  • Annually, the NNUH admits around 1000 stroke patients for an average stay of 11 days

At any given time the NNUH has around 30 patients in hospital because of a stroke. As this is an important first step in developing new services for people with stroke related illness, doctors running the new fast track service are also keen to hear the views of patients with stroke and their carers, in order to help deliver the best possible care.

Dr Bob Fulcher, consultant physician at the hospital, said: “Stroke is often underestimated in terms of the potential impact it can have not only on the lives of patients but also on those of their families. Our fast-track clinic is designed to speed up the diagnosis and care of those who are most at risk of a full-blown stroke – people who have had Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIAs – or mini-strokes). We are also very keen to hear from patients and carers to gauge their views on how we develop our services further.”

The fast-track clinic will deal with people who have had TIAs and are then seven times more likely to have a full stroke in the weeks following their mini-stroke. GPs will refer patients directly to the rapid access clinic with the aim of providing an appointment within 14 days.

Ann Condie, East Anglian regional manager of the Stroke Association said: “We very much welcome the type of service the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has developed and we would ask stroke patients and carers to get in touch with the hospital to help shape stroke services according to patients' needs.”

Masterstroke is a local initiative designed to help improve stroke services. We are particularly interested to hear from patients and/or their carers or relatives. We would welcome feedback on any aspect of stroke services. If you would like to take part in this review we suggest that you:

  • Ring 01603 286458 and leave a message on the answering machine.
  • Or write to Oliver Redmayne, Stroke Liaison Nurse, Gunthorpe Ward, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UY.
  • Or e-mail Masterstroke

For more information about stroke conditions generally contact the Stroke Association on 01394 279933.

Friday 28th of June 2002 09:00:48 AM