Health services top stroke care

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STROKE sufferers on Wearside are getting some of the best care and support in the country, say health chiefs.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) released the findings in its review of how well patients are supported in coping with life after a stroke.

Chief executive Cynthia Bower said the report showed a large variation in support across in England.

Dr Mike Prentice, medical director for NHS South of Tyne and Wear, which covers Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, said the results were good news for Wearside

He said: “We are delighted with the results of this review, which shows that Sunderland is amongst the best performing areas in the country. In fact, Sunderland is amongst the top ten performing areas nationally.

“We have been working closely with our partners, including Sunderland City Council, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and the Stroke Association, to ensure the very highest standards of care for stroke survivors.

“In the last two years, we have invested more than £500,000 on specialist community stroke rehabilitation services in Sunderland, which stroke survivors and their families helped to shape.

“There has also been additional health and social care investment into life after stroke services, which provide on-going support for survivors and their carers and help them to regain skills and confidence to re-engage in everyday activities.

“This positive review is testament to the success of these services. We are not complacent and are committed to building on this work to further improve local stroke services.”

The CQC review found patients in Sunderland are getting top support in transferring home from hospital, accessing a good range of services and staying healthy one year on from their stroke.

But while the city scored five in some areas – making it better than other boroughs, cities and counties for those types of care and support – it fared less well in others.

Wearside was graded two for helping people participate in community life and for the way health and social services work together. Their average score was 3.73.

Durham scored five for “meeting people’s individual needs”, and four in other areas, but ranked average in most and got a two for “providing end-of-life care” with an average score of 3.27.

Geraldine Waugh, Durham County Council’s older persons, physical disability and sensory support operations manager, said: “Durham County Council is pleased with the outcome of the CQC assessment. The support offered was judged to be better than many in the country.

“We have ensured, by working in very close partnership with our health colleagues, that people living with the effects of stroke are very well looked after and we will make sure this success is built upon to continue to improve our service to the community.”

Dave Gallagher, director of unplanned care for NHS County Durham and Darlington, added: “Our review of stroke services aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of the service that patients receive.

“We will ensure that the views of local patients and carers are taken into account in helping us to improve stroke services for people in County Durham and Darlington.”