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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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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 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
  • Acute/Rehabilitation Stroke Unit at the Horton General Hospital
  • Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA / 'mini stroke') outpatient clinics at the John Radcliffe and Horton General hospitals
  • outpatient follow-up clinics.

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 rehabilitiation unit for on-going multidisciplinary inpatient care or until 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 four and a half 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.

Ward 6B Stroke Unit

Level 6 JR main building

Daily 10.00am - 10.00pm - please see Open Visiting

  • Close family only please.
  • The Stroke Unit operates protected mealtimes.
  • Please check with staff before bringing in food or drink.
  • No flowers, please.

Contact telephone numbers

  • 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.

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

After initial investigation and stabilisation in the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit, patients who require further rehabilitation will either:

  • move to a local stroke unit for ongoing management by medical, nursing and therapy staff;
    in Oxfordshire the stroke rehabilitation units are at the Horton General Hospital and also Abingdon Community Hospital (managed by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust)
  • be discharged directly home from the HASU with rehabilitation at home provided by the Early Supported Discharge (ESD) for Stroke Service.
  • Early Supported Discharge (ESD) for Stroke

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.

Key staff

  • Dr James Kennedy
    Special interests: Hyperacute stroke
  • Dr Philip Mathieson
    Special interests: Hyperacute stroke / TIA
  • Dr Ian Reckless
    Special interests: Hyperacute Stroke / TIA
  • Dr Ursula Schulz
    Special interests: Hyperacute stroke / TIA
  • Dr Gary Ford
    Special interest: Hyperacute troke
  • Dr Matthew Giles
    Special interests: TIA
  • Rocel Espinosa (Stroke Specialist Nurse)
  • Christine Barker (Ward Manager)
  • Simon Lovett (Lead Therapist)
  • Kim Jones (Occupational Therapist)
  • Beverly Reetham (Physiotherapist)
  • Clare Major (Lead Therapist for ESD)