Barnet stroke unit has been awarded an A, the highest grade possible, in the recent stroke national audit. 

Divisional director and consultant stroke physician, Daniel Epstein, praised the work of the team which has helped to achieve this result for the period between August and November 2017. 

He put the A grade down to several factors including the work of therapists, early identification of stroke patients in emergency areas, and strict adherence to the London Stroke pathway. Adherence involves sending patients with acute stroke to the hyper-acute stroke unit (HASU) at University College Hospital first, before being ‘repatriated’ back to the Barnet acute stroke unit for ongoing care.  

Daniel said: “Our physio, speech and occupational therapists have to work under incredible pressure to ensure that each one of our 24 patients gets the appropriate level of therapy. We only score well in the stroke audit if our patients receive the mandated amount of therapy.   

“Our stroke co-ordinator Alda Arnauth is incredibly proactive in visiting the acute admission areas in the morning to ensure that stroke patients have been identified and referred to the HASU. Alda is responsible for imputing all the data for the audit which involves a significant time commitment. 

“It sometimes feels right to keep patients presenting with stroke at Barnet but actually it’s not, and they do better if they go to the HASU first.”

Barnet Hospital is part of the pan-London stroke network, which includes eight HASUs where immediate care is given to stroke patients by expert specialist staff. Patients are then transferred to their local acute stroke unit (ASU), such as Barnet Hospital, for ongoing acute management and rehabilitation.

The Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) is the single source of stroke data in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The audit is carried out three times a year.