Suffolk hospital offers stroke care via computer 24/7

image captionBrain scans can be seen over a computer link and the doctor can see and speak to patients and staff

A network of stroke specialists is on call to patients admitted to a Suffolk hospital via new computer technology.

Staff at Ipswich Hospital can link 24/7 with stroke doctors on call or based at hospitals across the east of England.

Patients who have a stroke out of normal working hours can be assessed by on-call doctors via the computer link.

Hospital teams can then administer a clot-busting thrombolysis drug if they are one of the 10% of stroke patients for which it is suitable.

Previously, Ipswich Hospital could only provide thrombolysis from Monday to Friday, from 0900 to 1700 BST.

On-call doctors, wherever they are in the region, can view brain scans on computer.

A monitor and camera link enables them to see and talk to hospital patients and staff from wherever they are in the region.

Brian Owens, associate director, said: "This new service will save lives and prevent disabilities by making sure that everyone who suffers a stroke has the best possible treatment, 24/7, 365 days a year."

The new tele-medicine partnership means patients may initially be taken by ambulance to a hospital which is not their most local.

However, if on-going care or rehabilitation is required, this will take place at the local hospital.

Ipswich Hospital has recently invested £500,000 in extra beds and staff to further improve care for stroke patients.

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