Plymouth gets 'best performing' rank for stroke care

CT scan of a stroke
Image caption A clot or ruptured vessel can cause a stroke

People who have suffered a stroke in Plymouth receive some of the best care in England, a report has said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a review of services, ranking health trusts and social care services on a number of areas.

These included acute care, discharge from hospital, access to rehabilitation and continuing care and support.

Plymouth was ranked as "best performing", with one of the lowest mortality ratios.

Torbay and Devon were both ranked as "better performing".

A stroke, which is caused by a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel, is the greatest single cause of severe disability in the country.

Depending on the severity, it can result in partial paralysis, impaired co-ordination, loss of sight and language difficulties.

Early diagnosis and treatment is important.

Care and support for stroke victims in Plymouth is provided by Plymouth Hospitals Trust, NHS Plymouth and Plymouth City Council adult social care.

Derriford Hospital has a direct admission for patients to a dedicated stroke unit where they are cared for by a specialist team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language and occupational therapists.

Clot-busting drugs

It also offers direct access to a TIA clinic - any patient who has had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini stroke (a TIA) can be referred and seen within 24 hours.

Patients whose stroke is caused by a clot, rather than a bleed, can be given thrombolysis (clot-busting drugs).

Plymouth scored top marks in the category "support for participation in community life".

Services provided by Plymouth City Council adult social care include a specialist counselling service for stroke survivors, carers and family members, a weekly self-help communication support group and an exercise group to help people improve strength, mobility and fitness.

Image caption The review included access to rehabilitation services

The CQC gave Plymouth its lowest score for not providing extra support to help patients return home as soon as possible.

Plymouth city councillor Grant Monahan said he was pleased the efforts to improve care for stroke patients had been recognised.

"Our development of the stroke services directory and the stroke specific counselling service go a long way to helping those who've suffered a stroke get the help they need once they leave hospital," Mr Monahan said.

"This can be a devastating condition and the work we're doing with our partners offers a lifeline."

A statement issued by Plymouth Hospitals Trust said the considerable effort by health organisations and social care agencies to improve care for stroke patients over the past two years had been demonstrated in the rating given to the area.

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