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Stroke services

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Strokes are a medical emergency and prompt treatment is essential - the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.

The aim of the Acute Stroke Service within Oxford University Hospitals is to maximise each patient's potential recovery from their stroke, by delivering timely and high quality care in a supportive environment.

Approximately 60 patients per month are admitted to the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

All patients with a suspected diagnosis of stroke are given a CT brain scan on the day of their admission, many within an hour, to help with diagnosis and to quickly assess any damage to the brain.

We have ready access to advanced neuro-imaging and work closely with our neuro-radiology colleagues to optimise every patient's specific diagnosis. Our stroke wards are staffed by specially trained physicians, nurses and therapists to provide high quality standards of care.

The Trust's stroke services comprise:

  • Hyper Acute Stroke Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital
  • Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA / 'mini stroke') consultant-led clinics at the John Radcliffe hospital
  • TIA outpatient follow-up clinics at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU)

The Trust's Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) at the John Radcliffe Hospital provides initial investigation, treatment and care immediately following a stroke. Patients are treated in the HASU until medically stable and fit for transfer to their local stroke rehabilitation unit for ongoing multidisciplinary inpatient care or until they are fit for discharge home.

Our HASU sees patients for hyper acute care and offers a 24/7 thrombolysis ('clot-busting') service for appropriate patients, if they are able to come to the emergency department within six hours of their stroke.

We have strong links with South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) which transports stroke patients directly to the John Radcliffe Hospital Emergency Department, where patients are identified to the acute stroke team following assessment.

Mechanical thrombectomy

A small proportion of patients may also be eligible for mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure in which an operator will (under general or local anaesthetic) physically remove a clot from the brain.

The procedure involves inserting a catheter into an artery, at the groin. A small device is passed through the catheter into the artery in the brain. The blood clot can then be removed using the device, or through suction.

It only works with people where the blood clot is in a large artery. Like thrombolysis, it has to be carried out soon after a stroke starting (within six hours).

Thrombectomy can have a very positive impact on reducing post-stroke disability and we operate a 24/7 service.

Contact us

Ward 7E Stroke Unit

Level 7 JR main building

Ward: 01865 221180

To speak to patients: 01865 220293

It is very helpful if telephone enquiries are made by one spokesperson only for the extended family, and if callers could avoid breakfast (7.30am - 8.30am) and supper (5.30pm - 6.30pm).

Rapid access TIA clinics

TIA is a similar condition to a stroke. The blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted, causing a 'mini stroke'. People fully recover within 24 hours or less. However, as it can be a warning sign ahead of a full stroke, it is important that TIAs are treated very seriously and a person experiencing a mini stroke is seen quickly by a specialist.

Stroke risk after TIA is high, but can be reduced significantly by urgent secondary prevention. The National Stroke Strategy requires all patients with high risk TIA or minor stroke to be assessed and treated by a specialist within 24 hours, and all others within seven days.

Oxford University Hospitals provides daily TIA clinics (Monday to Friday) and a weekend service for high risk patients at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

If you are referred with a suspected TIA, do not drive until we have seen you in the TIA Clinic: if involved in an accident, your insurance would not be valid.

Post-acute stroke rehabilitation

When patients are medically fit to be discharged from the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) they will continue their stroke rehabilitation after their discharge.

This will be either:

Rehabilitation and support

A variety of therapists work together with the nurses and doctors to help patients regain as much independence as possible following a stroke. Therapy will start from day one post-stroke as long as the patient is medically stable and may continue for some time.

The rehabilitation team will support and assist patients by identifying goals, and by developing a treatment plan to help achieve them. The team also starts planning a patient's discharge from the first day of their admission and always keep the patient involved in the decision process.

Clinical trials

We endeavour to perform stroke related research as often as possible as part of our regular service. We aim to offer all patients the opportunity to participate in a research study, but there is no obligation to do so.

Stroke Patient Group

Influence the stroke pathway, care and research - join our Stroke Patient Group

Represent stroke patients and work with our staff on projects, proposals and papers. Patients with different stroke types from all backgrounds, ethnicities and age groups are welcome.

  • Review our patient leaflets to make them easier to understand
  • Advise which questions should be included in our feedback form
  • Help us explain stroke research clearly to a wide audience
  • Give feedback to clinical staff on particular areas of practice

We hope to meet via Microsoft Teams three or four times a year, and eventually to hold a mixture of face to face and virtual meetings.

Contact Rachel via the Stroke Unit nurses' desk, or call / email.

Tel: 01865 221 921


Key staff

  • Dr Philip Mathieson
  • Prof James Kennedy
  • Dr Ursula Schulz
  • Prof Gary Ford
  • Dr George Harston
  • Dr Harjit Baines
  • Dr Ivie Gbingie
  • Dr Rob Irons
  • Dr Davide Carone
  • Sarah Wheeler (Stroke Matron)
  • Christine Field (Deputy Stroke Matron)
  • Jesika Rai (Ward Manager)
  • Stacey Ridderhof (Occupational Therapist)
  • Alexa Williamson (Physiotherapist)
  • Marise Botes (Speech and Language Therapist)
  • Beatrix Duarte (Dietitian)

Stroke Association

Stroke Association

PREMs Survey 2022/23

The Stroke Patient Reported Experience Measures Survey (PREMs) was the first of its kind, and has captured positive patient experiences, as well as letting us know where we need to make things better.

PREMs is a partnership project with the Stroke Association and NHS England, and is part of a national programme to improve stroke patients' experiences.

To see the results of the survey for Oxford University Hospitals please visit the Stroke Association website.

Stroke Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) Survey 202/23 (pdf) - Stroke Association

Last reviewed:09 February 2024