The high-quality hospital care people receive in Northamptonshire after suffering a stroke is showing evidence of getting even better after a new way working was introduced earlier this year.

Stroke services at NGH have since received the highest possible grading in a national review, including the trust’s best-ever score for ensuring stroke patients are admitted to a specialist ward within four hours.

As detailed in our November 2018 newsletter, inpatient care for hyper-acute and acute stroke patients was centralised this summer at Northampton General Hospital. The move was part of our Partnership focus on bringing selected specialist services together across our two general hospitals.

Previously, all patients who had suffered a stroke were treated at the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit at Northampton with some patients then being transferred to Kettering General Hospital for on-going care. Centralising the whole service at NGH means patients now receive the same quality and consistency of care in one location, wherever they live in Northamptonshire.

There is also increased rehabilitation support at Northampton General Hospital and at Isebrook Hospital in Wellingborough, where some patients receive care provided by Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust. Much of this care is offered by the Community Stroke Team at NGH, which has also been recognised as being outstanding.

Stroke services at NGH were already highly regarded and the move means it can continue to develop its specialist expertise, with additional investment identified for therapy and specialist psychology.

The latest review of the service by the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) for July to September 2018 covered the period during and after the centralisation. It awarded an overall A grade, including the hospital’s first B grade for admissions to the Eleanor Stroke Unit in under four hours. No trust in the country achieved a higher grade in this category.

Sonia Swart, chief executive at NGH and joint NHCP lead for our hospitals working more closely together (unified acute model), said: “We would like to thank all the teams who worked to help make the stroke transfer work. The transition was effectively managed in advance over the summer and the partnership working was critical.”