King's Lynn hospital's stroke unit ranked in country's top 10
The stroke unit at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been ranked as one of the country's top 10.
Clinical staff from the QEH are celebrating the news, after West Raynham Ward was named the sixth best performing stroke unit in the country for its treatment and performance rates.
The unit has once again received an A rating from the Royal College of Physicians as part of its Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme which is an assessment of several key treatment areas.
Hospital officials say patients who are suspected of having a stroke are seen within two minutes of arriving at the QEH and receive vital thrombolysis treatment within 40 minutes, which helps patients to regain independence and mobility after a stroke if it is given early enough.
Stroke consultant and acting medical director Dr Raj Shekhar and ward manager Tania Martins Henriques Afonso have put the success down to the unit's dedicated team of doctors, nurses, therapists and support staff.
Dr Shekhar said: "We are delighted with the ranking as it is a demonstration of the hard work put in by the staff on West Raynham along with reflecting the excellent team working arrangements with the paramedics along with colleagues in A&E and radiology.
"This rating also reflects our determination to ensure that we see and treat patients early to improve their outcomes and help them to go onto live independently."
Officials added that West Raynham has undergone "significant improvements" over the last four years which has seen it rise from the lowest E rating to the highest, A.
The ward works closely with the East of England Ambulance Service paramedics, who run an early alert system by warning the on-call stroke nurse to ensure they are in waiting for the patient in A&E.
Senior consultants and staff nurses are also available seven days a week to ensure that patients receive the right treatments.
Ward manager Sister Afonso said: "We also work closely with a data analyst to ensure that we have up-to-date information.
"This is a fantastic achievement and I want to say a big thank you to everyone in the unit for their hard work."
The ward has also undergone a make-over in recent years by adding a day room, reception and two meeting rooms to offer greater privacy.
Colour coded bays have been introduced to help reduce the disorientation for patients along with symbols on signs.
The Stroke team is also working with West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group to run the first clinic in the region to help prevent people from suffering strokes.
Research has shown that some people who have an irregular or fast heart rate can go on to suffer a stroke so Atrial Fibrillation clinics have been running for the last three months.
Eastern Academic Health Science Network in Cambridge is also supporting the clinics by offering equipment innovative equipment.
Dr Shekhar said: “Patients place their finger tips on the equipment pads which then provides us with their heart rate readings. We have found this equipment to be really useful.
“The AF clinics are working really well and we hope it will make a difference to patients. So far we have changed the treatment of 90% of the patients we have seen so far.”
John Webster, accountable officer for West Norfolk CCG, said: “This top rating for the QEH’s stroke unit is great news, and testament to the staff’s hard work and innovation.
"The CCG, QEH, and three GP practices – Vida Healthcare, Southgates Medical and Surgical Centre, and St James’ Medical Practice – have worked together on the atrial fibrillation clinics.
"It's a new approach and it’s already benefitting local people: patients are being seen, and treated, faster.”