Southend University Hospital is undertaking the trial of a Mobile Stroke Unit which will see patients receive life-saving care faster than ever.
The Mobile Stroke Unit, which has an onboard CT scanner and blood-testing equipment, will be staffed by stroke and imaging experts who can diagnose and start treating patients with suspected stroke at the scene.
This the first time a Mobile Stroke Unit, a concept developed by the University of the Saarland in Germany, has been tested in the UK.
Lead Stroke Consultant at Southend, Dr Paul Guyler explains its importance: “It’s widely known that ‘time is brain’ when it comes to stroke. When a patient is suspected to have had a stroke a CT scan is essential to allow specialists to determine whether the patient has a blood clot in the brain, a bleed in the brain or something else.
“The scan determines the diagnosis and what treatment happens next, and the Mobile Stroke Unit brings the scanner and the clinicians to the patient.”
Should a stroke be diagnosed, life-saving clot-busting medications can be administered to the patient quicker than ever before.
The Trust was offered the opportunity, to test the specialist ambulance in the community for a short period of time. This was made possible because of the of the strong links between Consultant Interventional Neuroradiologist Professor Iris Grunwald, who works at the Trust and also holds the post of Director of Neuroscience at Anglia Ruskin University School of Medicine, and her colleagues at the University of the Saarland, Germany who are supplying the vehicle free of charge.
The unit will be based at Southend to ensure safety and governance standards are met and Professor Grunwald has been working with the Trust’s stroke team to put plans into place. Anglia Ruskin University and the team will be evaluating the information collected during the project.
Professor Grunwald said: “We know that Mobile Stroke Units work in a densely populated city through trials carried out in Germany, Norway, Australia and the USA.
“The data and learning we gather during the period the vehicle is in use will be valuable in understanding the benefits and challenges of using a Mobile Stroke Unit in a more suburban or rural area, like we have across mid and south Essex.”
While the project is limited to a three-month period, the stroke team are looking to the future and hope that the information they gather over the 12 weeks will help inform plans to develop stroke services across mid and south Essex.