Hi-Tech stroke treatment

More patients suspected of having a stroke in Norfolk will have access to faster life-saving treatment.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is piloting a new project with the East of England Ambulance Service which will let paramedics have a video call with a stroke consultant.

This means the hospital team can identity what kinds of scans, drugs and treatment are needed, and the best place to take a patient.

The advice means patients may not need to sit in the Emergency Department, go straight to a specialist clinic or possibly avoid needing to go to hospital.

It also means tests and scans can be ordered before the patient arrives at hospital.

Dr Kneale Metcalf, consultant stroke physician at NNUH, said: “This innovation is helping to provide patients with access to high level stroke care, wherever they are, ensuring they are then given the appropriate treatment and investigations as quickly as possible. We’re able to pre-alert our CT scanner so patients can be sent straight for a scan and onto the relevant ward. It is therefore also reducing unnecessary transfers to ED and the burden on the ambulance service. Bypassing ED appropriately is better for everyone. It is better for the wait times in ED and the volume of patients in ED that need to be seen.”

Dr Rayhaan Rahaman, Consultant Radiologist, added: “The treatment of stroke requires ambulance, stroke and radiology teams to act quickly in co-ordination with each other. Rapid diagnosis and treatment for stroke patients can prevent lifelong disability and we are excited that video assessments and artificial intelligence has the potential to help us achieve this goal.”

The pilot is running across the East of England region between EEAST and six other acute Trusts including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.