Cardiac and stroke services go from strength to strength

  |  Published: Jun 30th 2016

Wycombe Hospital’s cardiac and stroke services are going from strength to strength in keeping with the Trust’s vision to put the hospital on the map as one of the leading centres in the country for cutting edge quality care for heart and stroke patients.

Exciting plans to develop and expand existing services are underway, whilst the cardiac and stroke teams have earned themselves national and international recognition for their innovation and commitment to patient care and development of expertise within their committed teams.

Our acute stroke service, which offers treatment and support for around 1,000 actual and suspected stroke patients every year, consolidated its position as one of the leading services in the UK when it recently retained the coveted overall ‘A’ rating the Royal College of Physician’s independent audit for the fourth consecutive time. This places it among the top 12% in England, Wales and Ireland. It remains the only NHS Trust in the Thames Valley to have ever been awarded the top ‘A’ Score.

For the first time staff at the unit also achieved an average ‘door to needle time’ of 30 minutes for patients accessing thrombolysis – an injection that is used to disperse blood clots and which can, if administered quickly, radically improve a patient’s quality of life following a stroke. This is well below the national average of 54 minutes.

And the unit is planned to expand to receive around 400 additional patients from east Berkshire as the Clinical Commissioning Groups there are moving towards a model of care based on all patients having access to a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit, including the one based at Wycombe Hospital, in order to allow them the benefit of 24/7 screening as well as access to consultant and other specialist support.

Said Dr Matthew Burn, stroke consultant:

“We are delighted to have achieved, and retained the ‘A’ score and the team is excited to witness the growth of our service. It really reflects the fact that we are consistent in providing and developing our high quality services for stroke patients. It is testament to the hard work the whole team has put into improving the service we offer – right across the board from our radiographers through to our nurses and therapists.”

In addition, in order to expand our cardiac services, the go-ahead was recently given to invest £1.1m in the building of a second cardiac catheter laboratory, which will be kitted out with the latest state-of-the-art equipment. This will mean around 700 more patients will be able to come to straight to Wycombe Hospital rather than go elsewhere for a variety of tests and procedures such as angiograms and the fitting of pacemakers. Building is due to begin later this year.

Our existing catheter laboratory was recently set up with cutting edge technology making Wycombe only the second hospital in the country to use this sophisticated equipment.

According to Piers Clifford, consultant cardiologist, “The new catheter lab equipment not only allows us to perform high quality conventional angiography, but it also allows us to image the inside of the arteries using ultrasound or light waves, which hugely improves our ability to deliver accurate results to patients.  I would like to acknowledge all the help that Scannappeal have given us in the refurbishment of the old laboratory and in the purchase of the new one.”

Along with the recruitment of new consultants to bolster the team, the Trust has also nurtured talent within its existing team to expand capacity for patients. This includes supporting and training one of our top cardiac nurses, Ghazala Yasin, to become only the second nurse in the country able to conduct angiograms – a procedure normally conducted by doctors. Ghazala’s pioneering work was recently recognised on the international stage when she was chosen from contenders from around the world to be the finalist in a prestigious award run by the European Society for Cardiology.

Says Piers Clifford, consultant cardiologist: “Ghazala has proven to be highly technically proficient at performing coronary angiograms.  She is leading the way for nurses; showing that they are equally capable at performing complex technical procedures, as doctors.  She hugely deserves the recognition she has been given by the European Society of Cardiology.”

Ghazala Yasin, nurse angiographer
Ghazala Yasin, nurse angiographer
Stroke service team at Wycombe Hospital
Stroke service team at Wycombe Hospital
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