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NHS chiefs witness progress in stroke care on JR visit


Advances in stroke care were highlighted during a visit to Oxford University Hospitals by Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England, and David Hargroves, National Clinical Director for Stroke.

They were given a tour of stroke, scanning and research facilities at the John Radcliffe by Andrew Brent, Chief Medical Officer, Phil Mathieson, Clinical Lead for stroke, and Victoria Young, Clinical Lead for Interventional Neuroradiology.

The visit comes shortly after the Oxford stroke unit began providing time-sensitive mechanical thrombectomy (MT) treatment around the clock, benefiting more patients, reducing disability and transforming lives.

Last year the Oxford stroke service became among the first in the country to hit the NHS Long Term Plan target for this treatment which involves removing a blockage in a large blood vessel in the brain.

Effective use of MT requires rapid transfer of acute stroke patients to regional centres with specialist teams, including diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology, and allied support services. The OUH stroke unit is at the centre of a regional integrated stroke delivery network and the wider Thrombectomy Innovation and Transformation Network (TITaN) connecting hospitals in Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Reading, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Swindon which has overseen a five-fold increase in MTs in the last three years.

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford University Hospitals (OUH), said: "We were delighted to welcome Steve and David and show them how we have been able to make mechanical thrombectomy available 24/7. We are leading the way nationally for stroke, at the heart of a strong regional network of hospitals."

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England, said: "It's a pleasure to see the work of the team in Oxford and the wider stroke network to roll out mechanical thrombectomy, as well as the contribution that the Oxford team is making to stroke research. We want to ensure that the progress and learning on implementing on a 24/7 thrombectomy service by the team here can be replicated by other centres across England."

Dr David Hargroves, National Clinical Director for Stroke, NHS England, said: "The fantastic work of the stroke and interventional neuroradiology team at Oxford, and the wider TITaN network, demonstrates the power of a networked approach to complex medical interventions. The whole multidisciplinary team across the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Stroke Delivery Network should be congratulated for their phenomenal effort in delivering mechanical thrombectomy 24/7, reducing the severity of disability for many people."

Dr Andrew Brent, OUH Chief Medical Officer, said: "The mechanical thrombectomy service builds on the great care that the OUH stroke team and our partners already deliver for patients in the region, and the important contributions that Oxford researchers continue to make to improving treatments and outcomes for stroke. I would like to thank the wide range of specialists within the multidisciplinary team without whose collaboration and contribution this would not be possible."

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of Health Innovation Oxford and Thames Valley and a stroke consultant at OUH, said: "Our support in developing the TITaN network and adopting artificial intelligence tools to identify and rapidly transfer brain scans has helped put our region among the leaders in delivering this life-changing treatment."

Pictured left to right:

  1. Vicky Young, Clinical Lead for Interventional Neuroradiology,OUH
  2. Phil Mathieson, Clinical Lead for Stroke, OUH
  3. Charalambos Antoniades, Director, Acute Multidisciplinary Imaging and Interventional Centre
  4. James Kennedy, Stroke Consultant, OUH
  5. Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England 
  6. David Hargroves, National Clinical Director for Stroke, NHS England 
  7. Oliver Adebayo, National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow
  8. Rahman Uberoi, Interventional Radiologist, OUH
  9. Andrew Brent, Chief Medical Officer, OUH
  10. Chris Tibbs, Medical Director Commissioning, NHS England South East
  11. Sudhir Singh, Clinical Director, AMR Directorate, OUH