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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Telestroke service celebrates two years of success

Telestroke service celebrates two years of success

Posted on Thursday 22nd August 2013

Dr Paul Davies

The ‘Telestroke’ service which links eight hospitals across Cumbria and Lancashire, has just celebrated a successful second year.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust was the lead provider in setting up the service which has provided a huge boost for acute stroke patients across the hospital sites.

A total of 15 stroke consultants including those at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, came together in 2011 to provide 24/7 thrombolysis treatment for patients with acute stroke. The consultants provide ‘out of hours’ clinical advice from their homes using high speed broadband technology to remotely connect to the eight hospital sites.

Each stroke consultant has a computer linked by broadband to a Telecart, which is positioned at the patient’s bedside in A&E or in some cases, the stroke unit. Consultants are able to have a ‘two-way’ virtual consultation, enabling them to see and speak to patients via innovative teleconferencing equipment and recommend appropriate treatment.

Since its launch, a total of 762 advice calls have taken place, 659 Telestroke assessments and 275 patients have been thrombolysed. In North Cumbria, double the number of patients were thrombolysed between August 2012 – July 2013 as compared to the previous year, showing the demand for the service is growing.

Dr Paul Davies, Acute Stroke Physician at the Cumberland Infirmary, said: “If a patient arrives in hospital with a stroke outside of the normal working day, we can start a Telestroke consultation. We can perform an examination with the help of the local team to decide whether the symptoms have been due to a stroke and whether thrombolysis treatment (the use of drugs to break up or dissolve blood clots) is appropriate.”

“Thrombolysis treatment can only be given to patients within four and a half hours of the onset of their stroke so time is crucial when giving this treatment and Telestroke has helped improve the speed of patient diagnosis. The sooner treatments can be provided, the better the outcome for patients. Anybody who develops new Facial weakness, new Arm weakness, new Speech disturbance should do what it says in the FAST test and dial 999.”

“Two years on, I am delighted to say that the service is going strong and we have treated a large number of patients very successfully.”