Getting It Right First Time in stroke services

GIRFT team working with stakeholders to improve the patient pathway

It’s Action on Stroke Month throughout May, and the team from the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) stroke programme are travelling the country visiting regions and working with trusts on ways to deliver better stroke services for patients in a sustainable network.

Led by clinical leads Dr Deb Lowe (consultant stroke physician and geriatrician from Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) and Dr David Hargroves (consultant physician and lead for stroke medicine at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust), regional events are taking place across England bringing together clinicians, nurses, managers, coders, commissioners and rehabilitation teams to identify best practice and work on improving care.

There are more than 100,000 patients who suffer a stroke in the UK every year – that’s one person affected every five minutes. Action on Stroke Month aims to highlight preventative measures and raise money for specialist support, research and campaigning to enable the UK’s 1.2m stroke survivors to live the best life they can after stroke.

GIRFT’s 22 regional stroke events are organised to bring together stroke teams from trusts working together on the same patient pathway. Five events have been held so far, in the Thames Valley region, north-west coast, north of England, south-east coast and Cheshire and Merseyside. The events will continue throughout 2019 on the following dates:

  • 3 May: Greater Manchester
  • 17 May: South West, Wessex
  • 6 June: South West, Gloucestershire and Somerset
  • 7 June: South West, Bath and Somerset
  • 19-21 June: London
  • 4 July: Devon & Cornwall
  • 18 July: Yorkshire
  • 5 September: Yorkshire
  • 19-20 September: East of England
  • 3 October: East Midlands
  • 17 October: West Midlands
  • 7 November: West Midlands      
  • 08 November:  Yorkshire                               

Invitations to these events are sent to trust chief executives, medical officers and stroke medical and therapy leads. The format of the day-long events, with regional data shared via presentation followed by the GIRFT clinical leads conducting shorter deep dive discussions with trust teams, enables attendees to consider how they can deliver better services region-wide as well as at a local trust level.

Representatives and guest presenters from stroke care stakeholders – such The Stroke Association, commissioners, NHS RightCare and Public Health England – offer a comprehensive view of services nationwide, looking at prevention, workforce, hyper-acute services, rehabilitation and life after stroke.
Dr Hargroves said: “It has been such a pleasure to meet so many fantastic teams of dedicated health and social care stroke practitioners. Through the sharing of innovative practice to deliver patient centred excellence, in the face of significant workforce challenges, we hope the regional based visits will inspire and promote sustainable stroke services for the future.”

Dr Lowe added: “It is exciting to see how the GIRFT visits will help to support the NHS England Long Term Plan for stroke to support improvements in the entire stroke pathway.

“Closer working with commissioners and the third sector and empowering local clinical leaders to drive service improvements is essential for whole system change, and working in a networked approach that allows regional review and shared good practice will deliver the changes that are needed and economies of scale.”

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