The first director of stroke has been appointed at Southampton’s teaching hospitals to oversee and promote the region’s 24/7 specialist service.
Consultant stroke physician Dr Pam Crawford, who helped develop and launch round-the-clock stroke care at Southampton General Hospital early last year, will use the role to raise public awareness of the signs of stroke and create a better understanding of the service on offer.
The appointment follows a renewed drive by the Department of Health to enhance quality in all aspects of stroke care, from prevention and advice, to hospital admission and life after stroke.
“This post is a clear indicator of commitment to developing our services further and achieving the national quality standards set by the government and I am very keen use this opportunity to increase publicity on stroke,” said Dr Crawford.
“As well as helping in house by giving more prominence to our 24/7 service, I will also be the key point of contact externally, working in partnership with our local and regional organisations to develop services further and to advertise what we do, alongside developing and furthering our research interests.”
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust’s dedicated service is designed to rapidly treat acute stroke or mini-stroke – transient ischaemic attack (TIA) – which can be detected by weakness in the face, arm or leg – typically on one side of the body – speech problems or loss of sight.
Urgent investigation is vital if TIA sufferers are to be prevented from going on to suffer a full stroke and all stroke admissions to the Emergency Department at any time of the day or night are assessed for emergency treatment.
By receiving specialist care on arrival, patients can have scans and tests quickly. If their condition is suitable, they can then be treated with thrombolysis – a rapid clot-busting drug given to patients within the first three hours of the onset of their symptoms.
Dr Crawford added: “We are currently the only trust in the south of the South Central Strategic Health Authority area that offers 24/7 thrombolysis and seven-day TIA assessments, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us to reach the high standards we have set ourselves.”
Posted on Thursday 5 August 2010