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Ipswich Hospital announces new mobile stroke unit to provide quicker treatment

PUBLISHED: 11:46 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:46 08 May 2019

Dan Phillips, clinical lead for the ambulance service, on board the mobile stroke unit.  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Dan Phillips, clinical lead for the ambulance service, on board the mobile stroke unit. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

A new mobile stroke unit is set to hit the streets of Ipswich in an attempt to save more lives.

The team on board Ipswich Hospital's mobile stroke unit.  Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe team on board Ipswich Hospital's mobile stroke unit. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

From Tuesday, May 7, a modified ambulance will be dispatched to calls of suspected strokes, manned by specially trained crews armed with high-tech equipment.

The ambulance, which is kitted with a CT scanner, is hoped to also be used to administer clot-busting thrombolysis treatment to help save lives before arriving in hospital.

It will see the hospital become the second in the country to trial the scheme, with Southend Hospital having run a successful trial, cutting thrombolysis times from 75 minutes to only 42.

A similar scheme has also been tried in Germany, whose experts will assist staff at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST).

The stroke unit has previously been trialled at Southend Hospital and in Germany.  Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe stroke unit has previously been trialled at Southend Hospital and in Germany. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Visiting neurology consultant professor Silke Walter and Dan Phillips from the ambulance service will man the ambulance.

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Dan Phillips, clinical lead for the East of England Ambulance Service said they have been working closely with those involved in the German scheme for the last eight years.

Dr Sajid Alam, stroke consultant at Ipswich Hospital, said: "We are delighted that we have been chosen to help trial this exciting initiative.

"Beside a CT scanner, the stroke ambulance also includes a range of other high-tech equipment, which will enable the crew to diagnose and treat the patient on board, rather than losing valuable time transporting them to hospital.

"This is especially vital with strokes, where every minute of delay can result in the loss of two million brain cells and lead to serious disability or even death.

"We anticipate that the stroke ambulance will allow us to administer clot-busting drugs within just 60 minutes of the stroke happening, which could make a really significant difference to the outcome for these patients, and in some cases even save lives."

Dr Alam added the unit will see one third of patients being able to remain safely at home rather than bringing them to hospital.

The two-week trial will run on weekdays between 9am and 5pm, and if successful will see Ipswich Hospital invited to take part in a wider research project testing the unit's impact and viability before potentially spreading region-wide.

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