Stroke Services in Northamptonshire
When someone has a stroke it is important they receive fast emergency treatment from expert staff in specialist facilities in order to get the best possible health outcome.
That is why – for many years now - all Northamptonshire patients suspected of having a stroke are brought to Northampton General Hospital for their emergency treatment.
Here at NGH we have a highly rated hyper acute stroke unit which provides expert care to stroke patients in the first few hours after developing stroke symptoms. Early treatment is very important if the patient is to have the best health outcome. The majority of stroke patients go on to receive their ongoing care at NGH and small number of patients who live in the north of the county are transferred to Kettering General Hospital (KGH) when it is appropriate after receiving their emergency care at NGH.
In order to ensure all patients living in Northamptonshire receive the same level of care from a hyper acute and acute stroke unit, from the end of August 2018 all stroke patients will receive care at NGH until they are ready to return home. In this way we can ensure they get the maximum benefit from the specialist facilities and highly-trained staff, thereby reducing death rates and long-term disability from strokes. At the same time there will be investment in community stroke services to support all patients when they are ready to go home.
Any stroke patient currently receiving outpatient services at Kettering General Hospital will continue to do so, although the KGH outpatient clinic is relocating to Fotheringhay Outpatients Unit in the main block.
KGH will also continue to provide outpatient follow-up care and treatment for Transient Ischemic Attack (very minor strokes).
The reasons for change to the service are:
- The current stroke pathway deliveres variable care and outcomes, with some Kettering patients not accessing the most specialist elements of care that are available at NGH.
- There have also been difficulties in recruiting the specialist staff needed at KGH to give stroke patients the best opportunity to recover
- Over-long stays in hospital hinder recovery. Stroke patients cared for at KGH stay there on average more than twice as long as patients at NGH and don’t always have the ability to be discharged to a community rehabilitation bed in a timely manner.
- Patients and the public have supported a model of care that delivers shorter hospital stays and expanded community provision
The benefits of an improved stroke pathway:
- Equal access to high quality care for all patients, ensuring everyone in Northamptonshire has access to the same high quality standards of care
- The potential to reduce hospital stays through more community-based care
- A more sustainable stroke service in Northamptonshire by working at scale and being more efficient
- NGH will continue to develop specialist expertise, such as therapeutic and psychological input, through additional investment
- A single specialist service will be better able to recruit and retain staff of the required calibre, with no in-county competition for key personnel
What this means for patients
- Any stroke patients admitted to KGH before 25 August will continue their acute care at Kettering. But after August 25 all patients will go to NGH for hospital care.
- Any stroke patient currently receiving outpatient services at KGH will continue to do so, although the outpatient clinic is relocating to Fotheringhay Outpatients Unit in the main block.
- There will also be 12 community stroke beds at Isebrook Hospital in Wellingborough, with an enhanced community stroke team enabling more people to be cared for at home.
- KGH will continue providing outpatient follow-up care and treatment for Transient Ischemic Attack (very minor strokes).
- Between August 25 and September 10 there will be a period of transition – potentially with some patients remaining at KGH for a short time. After September 10 the county-wide service will become fully operational and from that date all stroke patients who need hospital care will receive it at Northampton General Hospital. All emergency stroke patients will be referred direct to Northampton General Hospital by all NHS services.
Posted on Monday 6th August 2018