Stepping Hill Hospital’s stroke centre ranked top in England

Stepping Hill Hospital’s stroke centre in Stockport has been officially ranked as the best in the country.

The independent report from the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) rates the quality and performance of services for every stroke patient, from treatment to recovery. It is the single source of stroke data for England.

Stepping Hill Hospital came first in the country out of a total of 224 stroke centres. It shows a big improvement for the hospital, leaping up the national rankings by 50 places over the past eighteen months.

Stepping Hill Hospital’s stroke centre assesses over 3000 patients with suspected stroke and treats over 1100 stroke patients a year. It is one of only three specialist units in Greater Manchester and expanded its services three years ago. The unit treats patients from Eastern Cheshire, as well as Greater Manchester.

Strokes are the fourth biggest killer in the UK, and a leading cause of disability – but swift, specialist treatment can make a huge difference. There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK, with someone suffering from one every five minutes. In Greater Manchester the number is 6000 every year.

The Stepping Hill stroke centre uses high tech scanners to detect blood clots in the brain, and then emergency ‘clot-busting’ drugs to break them down. It also provides stroke patients with a full rehabilitation programme, with a team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists working alongside stroke doctors and nurses. The centre includes a dedicated assessment unit for stroke patients in the emergency department, hyperacute stroke unit , physiotherapy gym, therapy rooms, sensory garden and new unit specifically for assessment of ‘mini-strokes’.

Patients have ranged in age from 21 to 104, with the average patient staying on the unit for 22 days.

Roy Miller (76) from New Mills in the High Peak, Derbyshire is currently recovering at Stepping Hill Hospital following a stroke several weeks ago. He is making good progress and said, “Having a stroke is very frightening, but the support and reassurance I have had from all the staff here has been a huge help. It’s certainly very good to know this is the best stroke unit in England, and to be honest it doesn’t surprise me. The care they have given me, doing their very best to help me to recover, has really been fantastic.”

Dr Shivakumar Krishnamoorthy, clinical director for stroke services at the hospital said,

“We’re really proud and delighted with this gold standard assessment of our services. Having access to the right tests and treatments immediately; such as the CT scans, clot busting drug, and specialist stroke therapy, means that stroke patients have a much better chance of recovery.

“Everything we do is about ensuring we provide the highest quality of care for our patients and this achievement is testimonial to the teamwork and dedication of all the staff involved.

Ann Barnes, chief executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital, said, “We are immensely proud of our services and this top ranking is testament to the skill and commitment of all our staff, as well as the investment we have made.

“Our stroke centre seamlessly sews together all aspects of care; bringing experts and equipment under one roof to provide first-class treatment, reducing death rates and long-term disability”.