St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust’s stroke services were rated in the top 25 per cent in the UK, according to the National Sentinel Audit for Stroke, organised by the Royal College of Physicians.

The audit assessed the care of patients who had a stroke between 1st April and 30th June 2010 in more than 200 trusts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

St George’s rated higher than the national average for all measures, including access to specialist stroke unit, communication with patients about their diagnosis and swallow assessment within 72 hours. In addition, 85 per cent of the trust’s patients received all 12 key indicators measured by the audit, which was the highest score in London.

In July 2010 St George’s Healthcare began operating one of eight specialist hyper-acute stroke units (HASU) in London, providing expert emergency care to stroke patients, including access to CT scans and clot-busting drugs which save lives and reduce long-term disability.

Hugh Markus, professor of neurology and one of five consultants in the trust’s stroke team, said: “Over the last year there has been a dramatic expansion in stroke services as part of the London stroke strategy and the trust now sees approximately 2,000 stroke patients a year.

“Despite this great increase in throughput, St George’s still manages to maintain the very highest quality standard of care, as the results of this audit show.

“We have established daily TIA (minor stroke) clinics as well as 24/7 care of stroke patients, with daily consultant ward rounds and brain imaging (MRI) lists. The changes mean that many more patients in south west London are now receiving thrombolysis (clot busting) treatment.”

In August 2010, the trust’s stroke service achieved top marks in the audit for organisation of care for patients. Successes included the coordination of team meetings and the breadth of specialist staff working on the unit, as well as scoring highly for its communications with patients and carers and the multidisciplinary approach to patient care.

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact the communications team at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust on 020 8725 5151 or email Outside working hours, please page the team by calling 0844 822 2888, leaving a short message and contact details for pager SG548.

Around 11,000 Londoners suffer a stroke each year, making it the second biggest killer in the capital and the most common cause of disability.