South Tees stroke team leading the way

Posted on in Services

South Tees stroke services are celebrating after going top of the league in latest regional performance figures.

Dr Adrian Bergin (left) and stroke team staff on ward 28 at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough

Dr Adrian Bergin (left) and stroke team staff on ward 28 at The James Cook University Hospital

Data from the Royal Collage of Physicians’ Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) shows eight out of 10 patients reach the stroke unit at The James Cook University Hospital within four hours of arriving at the Middlesbrough site compared to five out of ten nationally.

The average patient arrives on the stroke ward within 90 minutes following initial assessments and routine scans.

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was the only service in the country to achieve more than 90% of patients seeing a stroke nurse and stroke therapist within 24 hours and all relevant therapists within 72 hours.

The January to March 2015 data shows the time from arrival in hospital to receiving clot busting drugs is consistently on a par with those achieved in the London hyper acute stroke units.

And the proportion of applicable patients receiving six month reviews is 89% – well above the national average of 21%.

Stroke consultant Dr Adrian Bergin said: “What these statistics show is that we get patients to the right place quickly and assessed by the right people.”

The figures are expected to improve even further in the future following the opening of the specialist stroke rehabilitation unit at Redcar Primary Care Hospital in April 2015 and the launch of the early supported discharge (ESD) team which now enables up to 40% of South Tees patients to receive stroke rehabilitation therapy in their own home.

The changes form part of South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group’s IMProVE programme (Integrated Management and Proactive Care for the Vulnerable and Elderly) which aims to transform health services for elderly and vulnerable patients in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland.

Dr Bergin added: “The newly launched ESD team is undoubtedly the biggest step forward we have made in quality of care. The team has treated 50 patients since its introduction in March and we look forward to seeing how this impacts on future statistics.”

Dr Ali Tahmassebi, South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group GP and lead for the IMProVE programme said: “We are delighted to receive further confirmation that James Cook continues to improve stroke care.

“We are confident that the recent centralisation of stroke rehabilitation onto one site and the addition of the new ESD team will add to that improvement, delivering gold standard treatment for patients in South Tees.”

Last year a total of 740 stroke patients were treated at James Cook. For more details visit The SSNAP statistics can be viewed online at