Stroke services praised

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

HEALTH chiefs have praised staff after a positive audit of stroke services.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton, has recently been subject to an inspection under the independent Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP).

The audit measured stroke services in a hospital setting, including the University Hospital of Hartlepool, in Holdforth Road, and the trust was named among the top 25 per cent of the 190 sites that took part.

The news was announced at a board meeting of the trust, held recently at the Hartlepool hospital, and it follows a similar audit in 2010.

Health chiefs say there are areas of the service that can be improved, but say staff have developed a culture of “continuous improvement”.

Julie Gillon, chief operating officer/deputy chief executive, said: “North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s stroke service remains in the top quarter.

“However, there are areas where progress needs to be made to improve services, in particular around acute care and team meeting.”

The audit covered several areas of the stroke service including acute care, organisation of care, specialist roles, quality improvement, training and research and neurovascular clinics.

Alan Foster, the trust’s chief executive, said: “We have a service here that is being led in an excellent manner.

“The team work has been second to none and the service has improved beyond recognition and we want to see if we can expand what we do into parts of County Durham.”

Paul Garvin, chairman of the trust, said: “This is an independent audit which gives us an independent level of assurances.

“It is good to see that we are a top performer.”

The trust was one of 190 sites across the country to take part in the audit.

Despite the positive audit, staff say further work is going on to improve the service by educating staff outside of the stroke unit and retaining stroke therapists.