Initiative to help stroke patients gets £72,000 boost

A new project to extend the amount of treatments a paramedic can deliver to a suspected stroke patient before arrival at hospital has been given the go-ahead.

The 12-month initiative is aimed at improving knowledge about stroke treatments through increasing opportunities for research during paramedic assessment and improving the transfer of information between ambulance and hospital records.

It is hoped that new clinical research will help paramedics to deliver the type of treatments which, ten years ago, could only have been given by doctors.

Paul Fell, consultant paramedic at the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), said: “This is great news for the patient and the paramedic profession, having access to the data and enhancing the Paramedic training not only allows the paramedic to be more involved in the whole patient episode but will without doubt increase the paramedics knowledge around strokes and there evolving treatment of these cases.”

The project is a collaboration between NEAS, the Newcastle University Stroke Research Group, and north east healthcare technology company Digital Spark Ltd, and is being funded by a £72,000 award from the North East & North Cumbria Academic Health Science Network.

Digital Spark’s strategy director Michael J Bell, said: “We are very pleased to be involved in this innovative and potentially life saving initiative.

“Technology has a huge role to play in the future of safer healthcare and we’re delighted to share our expertise with our project partners for better connected healthcare delivery.”

At present, once a paramedic has handed a patient over to a hospital, no further information is exchanged.

While an ambulance can exchange information securely with a hospital, there is no flow from the hospital or GP in the opposite direction.

Increasing the amount of feedback on what happened to a patient following their treatment helps refine a paramedic’s future work.

The project also includes the development of a new training scheme for paramedics, incorporating studies on patient safety and clinical treatments.