Coronation Street’s longstanding resident Ken Barlow would find himself in very good hands following a recent transformation in stroke care across Greater Manchester.
Regular Corrie viewers have been watching anxiously recently after Ken suffered a stroke – the fourth largest killer in the UK.
Now, as part of a number of events in the lead up to World Stroke Day on Saturday October 29, this week saw a 100-mile static bike ride at Salford Royal Hospital in order to raise awareness of stroke and the leading services available to patients in the region.
In the last year, more than 6,000 people in Greater Manchester have had a stroke – which is caused by an interruption in blood supply to the brain due to a blockage or bleeding from the arteries supplying the brain.
Symptoms include weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech and blurred vision.
Clinical Lead Dr Jane Molloy, who was heading off to an afternoon clinic after putting in her shift on the saddle, said: “The aim of World Stroke Day is to raise awareness of stroke and the importance of people recognising the symptoms and understanding how they can prevent a stroke from happening.
“Stroke can be devastating and leave people with lasting difficulties but if we can treat patients quickly and in specialist centres, we can reduce its impact.”
Crucially for our region over the last few years, “clot-busting” treatment has become available to everyone and the Greater Manchester Stroke Operational Delivery Network – created in July 2015 – ensures that rapid assessments and brain scans are carried out.
Rather than being taken to a local hospital, patients are now brought directly to one of three Hyper Acute Stroke Units, located at Fairfield General Hospital (Bury), Stepping Hill Hospital (Stockport) and Salford Royal Hospital – the latter of which heads up the network by providing 24/7 treatment.
Jane continued: “The work we’ve done is all around improving access so that we’re here all the time for everyone.
“By running events like this, we’ll hopefully go beyond preaching to the converted and raise awareness that immediate treatment is crucial in stroke cases.
“For example, if you get sudden numbness in your arm one evening, don’t leave it until the following morning to come in and be diagnosed.”
Angela Arrowsmith from Horwich benefitted from the new regional setup after having a stroke in her loft last year.
The emergency services were able to bypass the Royal Bolton Hospital to give her access to the specialist treatment at Salford Royal and she is now recovering well, despite having some lasting physical difficulties and speech problems.
Angela’s husband David paid tribute to the hospital’s care.
“It was really good, first class with no problems,” he said.
“They were always with her and nothing was too much trouble.”
Such feedback is testament to all of the staff’s efforts and it appears that outstanding performance is the norm for the Salford stroke team, as they had cruised past their 100 mile target on the bikes by early afternoon and were pushing on towards their next century!
Other local events include the World Stroke Day Conference at Fairfield General Hospital on Friday October 28 and the “Stroke: Stories through and art and science” symposium at the Whitworth Art Gallery on Friday November 4, hosted by the University of Manchester and Stroke Association.
For more information about the Greater Manchester Stroke Operational Delivery Network, visit: http://gmsodn.org.uk/