NBT stroke service reconfiguration leads to improved patient outcomes across the region

NBT Stroke clinical lead Dr James Dodd.

North Bristol NHS Trust’s stroke team has undergone dramatic transformation and expansion over the past ten years. It is currently the largest service of its kind in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe. 

The biggest changes have been the expansion of the mechanical thrombectomy service in December 2022 to run 24/7, and the centralisation of urgent stroke services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to create the hyper acute and acute stroke units  at Southmead Hospital’s comprehensive stroke centre in May 2023. The changes mean that Southmead is now the main provider of emergency stroke care for patients in the region via the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU), with the Acute Stroke Unit (ASU) providing specialist follow-up care before patients move onto rehab closer to their homes, or are discharged home with support. 

In the first year of offering the 24/7 service, the team treated 200 more patients than the previous year with more than 400 thrombectomies performed in 2023.  

Dr James Dodd, Clinical Lead for Stroke at NBT, says it’s been “incredible” to see how advances in care and treatment have improved patient outcomes in the six years he has been practising as a doctor.  

“We know from research and evidence that getting people to a specialist centre earlier improves stroke outcomes. Prior to reconfiguration, a lot of stroke outcomes depended on when and where you had the stroke. And we were aware that there was an inequality of outcomes across the wider region. 

“It has been incredible to see this service grow considerably and how many people have been in receipt of our care and treatment. 

“I think we're very lucky to work in a hospital like Southmead where it's a very beautiful building, it's light and airy, and I think the workforce and indeed the patients and relatives, they often comment on how nice it is, and I think that really does help with the patient experience.”