London hospital's stroke care wins top marks

image captionSt George's NHS trust one of eight specialist hyper-acute stroke units in London

Care given to stroke patients at a south-west London NHS trust has been rated the best in a national survey.

St George's NHS trust in Tooting was one of more than 200 trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland assessed for the Royal College of Physicians.

Experts scrutinised stroke services across eight categories.

Auditors gave St George's top marks for organisation of care, coordination of team meetings and the breadth of specialist staff working on the unit.

Clot-busting drugs

According to the Royal College of Physicians, about 11,000 Londoners have a stroke each year, making it the second biggest killer in the capital and the most common cause of disability.

In July St George's began operating one of eight specialist hyper-acute stroke units (HASU) in London.

It provides expert emergency care to stroke patients including access to CT scans and clot-busting drugs which save lives and reduce long-term disability.

The audit gave the service high scores for its communication with patients and carers and the way staff from different areas discuss and contribute towards the patient's recovery.

Recognition was also given to its close work with a specialist community rehabilitation team for longer-term care of both stroke.

Hugh Markus, professor of neurology and one of five consultants in the stroke team, said the results were a marvellous achievement

"The service has been ranked among the top 10 in the country in the last few audits, so quality has been consistently high for some time now."

A stroke is caused by the interruption of the blood supply to the brain, usually because a blood vessel bursts or is blocked by a clot.

This cuts off the supply of oxygen and nutrients causing damage to the brain tissue.

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