Stroke care is praised

STROKE patients across South Yorkshire are receiving top standards of aftercare according to a study by a health industry watchdog.

Patients in Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster are all getting the 'best' level of care available, says the Care Quality Commission and patients in Sheffield get 'better' standards of care than stroke victims in other regions.

The review is based on the boundaries of primary care trusts.

Barnsley scored highest in the region, with top marks in six of 15 indicators - securing it joint third place in the country.

Criteria included early discharge from hospital, the quality of reviews and assessment after transfer home, the range of information provided, the standard of co-ordination and personalisation, support for participation in community life, and support for people who have had a 'mini stroke'.

Doncaster came next on the list - with top praise for its management of the transfer home, its work to meet individuals' needs, the outcomes of patients one year on from their stroke, and the care of mini stroke patients.

Sheffield scored top marks for its mini stroke support and end of life care, while Rotherham's services for carers and mini stroke patients were also ranked as the best.

However, Rotherham did receive a poor rating for its work providing early supported discharge.

Gill Stansfield, from NHS Barnsley, said their success was down to the work of the local Stroke Strategy Group - set up in 2001 and made up of representatives from all local organisations involved in planning for and providing stroke services - as well as the Barnsley Stroke Club for survivors and their carers and families, who help develop services.

She said: "Working together, members of the Stroke Strategy Group have taken national direction and agreed a clear vision to develop and deliver best practice local services for local people."

She added: "The outcome of the report shows our approach has been both highly successful and beneficial for many people."

The high scores for Sheffield come six months after the city's stroke services were centralised by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in a specialist centre at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

The ambulance service now automatically takes patients suspected of suffering a stroke to the new centre where they are treated by a specialist team - from the initial assessment to the necessary investigations before being transferred to a high-dependency unit.

Amanda Jones, nurse consultant for stroke care at the trust, said: "We are absolutely delighted stroke care in Sheffield has been recognised in the report.

"NHS Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals are dedicated to working together to ensure patients who have suffered a stroke receive a gold standard of care from the moment they call the ambulance, during their treatment in hospital, and right through to their rehabilitation in the community."

Tim Furness, deputy director at NHS Sheffield, added: "It's good to see all the work taking place in Sheffield over recent years has been recognised in this new national report.

"Stroke patients in Sheffield now benefit from more services in the community, with 15 dedicated beds at Beech Hill rehabilitation unit and new community services so they can return home earlier from hospital.

"We are committed to doing more to continue to improve services for stroke patients in Sheffield."

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