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District receives world recognition for stroke care

RPA and Concord hospitals acknowledged for top quality stroke care.

Four women standing in a row socially distanced; one woman holding an award
SydneyConnect Image: 2021 Angels Award for Concord

Two hospitals in Sydney Local Health District have received global recognition for high standards in stroke patient treatment and care, with the World Stroke Organisation awarding RPA platinum status and Concord gold status in its 2021 Angels Awards.

The awards acknowledge high performing hospitals and aim to improve patient outcomes by setting global benchmarks for best practice stroke care.

"A large number of people contribute to the work of RPA's Comprehensive Stroke Service. It's wonderful acknowledgement of our specialist team and the many people we work with outside the hospital, including NSW Ambulance," Associate Professor John Worthington, RPA's Director of Stroke, said.

To date, only two other hospitals in Australia have been awarded platinum status.

RPA's Comprehensive Stroke Service offers 24/7 endovascular clot retrieval (ECR) for ischaemic stroke patients from across New South Wales.

ECR is a complex emergency procedure to remove clots and involves a team including an anaesthetist, neurointerventional radiologist, neurologist, intensivist, radiographers and specialist nursing staff.

It can be done up to 24 hours after the onset of a stroke.

In 2020, 176 patients received ECR, including 126 patients transferred to RPA from across NSW.

While at Concord, 300 patients received care at the Acute Stroke Unit, with 24 of them able to be treated with special clot-busting medication.

"It's a great honour for our Acute Stroke Unit to receive the award and is testament to the hard work of every single member of our team to enhance the treatment and care of our stroke patients," Clinical Associate Professor James Burrell, the Head of Concord's Neurology Department, said.

Data shows more than 27,000 Australians experienced a stroke for the first time in their lives in 2020, while there are more than 445,000 Australians living with the effects of stroke.

As part of the awards process, training, protocols and the performance of each hospital's stroke unit were assessed.

RPA and Concord's stroke services met or exceeded international benchmarks, demonstrating excellence for outcomes including optimum time to treatment, coordinated care, appropriate scans and screening, and ensuring patients are discharged from hospital on medications to minimise the risk of further stroke.

The recipients were announced at the Stroke Society of Australia's annual scientific meeting last month.