West Suffolk Hospital stroke care best in the east

West Suffolk Hospital.

West Suffolk Hospital. - Credit: PA

Stroke patients at West Suffolk Hospital are continuing to receive the best care in the East of England.

The most recent data puts the Bury St Edmunds hospital in the top 20 in the country.

Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) data gives the hospital an overall score of ‘B’ for January to March, making it the best-performing of all 16 hospitals in the east.

However, this is a slight drop in performance from the previous three months, when the hospital achieved a record high ‘A’ rating.

The audit looks at a range of factors, including how quickly patients can access a brain scan, whether they are rapidly transferred to a dedicated stroke unit and how many patients are given clot-busting thrombolysis treatment, which can drastically reduce lasting damage from strokes.

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It also measures the help put in place to aid recovery and rehabilitation, such as access to speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

Dr Sajid Alam, consultant in stroke, geriatric and general medicine, said: “We are delighted to have maintained our ranking as the region’s best stroke service, especially over the busy winter period when we, like many other hospitals, were facing increasing pressures. It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our staff on the ground during difficult periods – they deserve the most praise.

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“The figures show that our patients are receiving fast access to emergency care and the support during their rehabilitation, in turn giving them the best possible chance of making a good recovery. We hope to build on this performance over the coming months while focusing on the areas where further improvements could still be made so that we can make sure our patients continue to receive the best possible care.”

The improvements in stroke care come after a raft of changes were implemented, from a move towards seven-day working across stroke care specialists and the creation of a joint stroke team with Ipswich Hospital.

In the first half of 2014, stroke care at the hospital, on Hardwick Lane, jumped from a ‘D’ rating to a ‘B’, with health bosses claiming their efforts to improve care were starting to have an impact.

Since then the hospital in Bury has maintained a high level of care, maintaining an average rating of ‘B’ in the three-monthly SSNAP audits.

Changes to stroke treatment in Suffolk all came out of the creation of the Stroke Review Project Board in 2013. This was in response to regional reorganisation which could have seen specialist services leave the county.

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