The NHS trust that runs Queen’s Hospital in Romford has been praised for dramatically improving its treatment of stroke patients.
The Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) rates stroke treatment at hospitals around the country from A, the best rating, to E, the worst.
In 2016, Queen’s Hospital, run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), abruptly fell from B to D.
However, the service has now been given the highest rating after improvements led to a 25 per cent drop in patient deaths and the average hospital stay getting four days shorter.
Devesh Sinha, a leading stroke doctor at the trust, said he was “so proud of the entire team” and the “more reliable, faster and consistent service” for patients.
He said: “Across two years we made over 40 changes to improve our service. Among the most important, was creating a culture of constant improvement by encouraging everyone to innovate.
“We have daily huddles where every staff member can give an idea to help us improve – this is great for our team as they feel empowered and has helped us recruit and retain the best people.
“Most importantly, we’ve made sustainable changes so we can ensure we continue to provide a high standard of care to all stroke patients.”
In 2016, SSNAP raised concerns that some patients were not being seen by a stroke-trained nurse within their first 24 hours in hospital and that there were not enough nurses at weekends.
It also pointed out patients were not receiving enough post-stroke therapy, particularly speech and language therapy, and that only a small number of patients were able to see a psychologist.
Improvements made since the report include changing consultants’ work patterns to match demand and introducing a virtual ward so patients can be seen from their own homes.
These changes have allowed the hospital to ensure patients who develop blood clots are medicated more quickly, which it partly credits for the reduction in patient deaths.
It has also recently introduced a seven-day mechanical thrombectomy service, which is a procedure that removes blood clots from the brain.
The trust has now been shortlisted for a Patient Safety Award run by NHS magazine Health Service Journal in recognition of this achievement.