Almost �1m set to be invested into care for stroke patients in Waveney

CARE for stroke patients in Waveney is to improve thanks to nearly �1m of extra funding.

About �180,000 of the money is being invested in extra beds, faster screening for patients and rehab services by NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney (NHSGYW). A further �200,000 has also been invested into an 'early supported discharge team' working on patient rehabilitation.

Senior managers are working with clinicians at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Trust to roll out the additional services which represent �980,000 of new investment.

Dr Jamie Wyllie, NHSGYW medical director, said: 'About �80,000 of the funding has been spent on relocating the ward within the hospital so there is a bigger dedicated stroke unit for patients. Ten extra beds are now available, increasing from 24 to 34.

'In 2008/09 we invested �600,000 to improve stroke services and we are building on this investment.

'We know that patients who are treated while on a stroke ward get better quicker. This extra investment will help transform the experience for patients who suffer a stroke and have to go to hospital.'

There are two types of stroke – a bleed from the brain or a clot which can lead to a loss of brain function. There is also a smaller type of 'mini stroke' called a TIA or transient ischemic attack. A patient who has either a stroke or TIA needs fast treatment.

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Part of the funding is also being driven into faster treatment for those who have had a TIA.

Oliver Redmayne, Stroke Specialist Nurse, from the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: 'This funding will enable us to assess and scan those who have had a TIA and are at a high risk of a full stroke within 24 hours, or within seven days if they are a low risk. This is really important to ensure we get that person treatment as soon as possible.

'Timing is vital with stroke and this additional funding will help us give patients the best care possible.'

The money will also be spent on an early supported discharge team who will carry out rehabilitation with patients and help support their return to their home. The team will be in place by the summer.

A 24/7 Thrombolysis service was put in place at the James Paget University Hospital towards the end of last year. Thrombolysis provides fast and effective treatment to stroke sufferers.

Dr Wyllie added: 'Everyone should know the signs of a stroke. Think FAST.'