Improving our stroke services…

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals jointly provide acute stroke care and rehabilitation for patients in West Kent and north East Sussex. National and local reviews of patient experience show that our hospitals, similar to many others locally and nationally, can improve stroke outcomes for patients and reduce long-term disability.

Our hospital clinicians, working with GP leads, are developing higher core standards of care for every patient we see. These will form the basis for future service improvements.

Our aim is to ensure all of our stroke patients have the same fast access to, and higher standards of, potentially life-saving and life-changing care round the clock.

Currently, not all of our patients are seen by dedicated specialist teams, who can diagnose their stroke and start appropriate treatment, in a timely way, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This initial stage of their care is called the hyper-acute stage.

Hospitals in Kent and Medway and many others nationally do not provide these high standards of hyper acute care at all times, for everyone they see, but we all want to.

The standards also set out what patients should expect during the acute phase of their care, when having a “mini-stroke” (transient ischaemic attack or TIA) and during rehabilitation.

These standards are based on those drawn up by the South East Coast Strategic Clinical Network for Stroke which has also put together a proposed model of care. This outlines the necessary elements of a hyper-acute service, acute service, TIA service and rehab service.

Read our stroke care leaflet, which outlines our key priorities and challenges and how you can help.

How you can help us…

We are involving our patients, the public and healthcare professionals in this work over the coming months and using their knowledge and experience to help us build a better service.

There will be many opportunities for people to help us make our services the very best they can be. For more information about our stroke services and how you can help us shape the improvements we want to make please see below.

If you would share to share your experience of our stroke services with us, or have a suggestion about how we can improve our patient care, please email us at mtw-tr.myhealthcare@nhs.net
The clinical lead for stroke services at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals has explained why it’s so important to improve stroke care for patients.

Dr Jim Milton, who specialises in care of the elderly, and is a Consultant Geriatrician, said: “As clinicians, our key aim is to get the best possible outcomes for our patients and reduce long-term disability.

“It has been shown that interventions, such as being treated on a specialist stroke unit and having timely access to thrombolysis, helps achieve this.

“Currently, not all appropriate patients we see in our hospitals are receiving the same high standards of care.

“In addition, we need to ensure that patients presenting at weekends and at night have access to the same level of expertise and treatment as those presenting during normal working hours.

“Many of our services do not run seven days per week, and we need to address this.

“Currently, overall, we are performing at a similar level to many other hospital trusts nationwide. We are `satisfactory’ but we aim to be `excellent’. We want to be performing at the level of the top hospitals, which will lead to better long term outcomes for patients.”

Information about stroke and our stroke services

Read these factsheets on stroke and our stroke services: