Getting to hospital at a single stroke. A crash course for GP receptionists on the recognition and handling of acute stroke

West MidlandsStroke
Start Date: 1 Jan 2014

Project summary

A training project to help GP reception staff recognise stroke and TIA and to ensure patients reach appropriate care as quickly as possible. Findings from the previous study showed that for 20% of stroke patients in the West Midlands the first course of action is to telephone their GP when they realise that they may have the symptoms of a stroke. However, it was found that none of these patients were getting through for thrombolysis. Studies have shown that some of the delays occur after the patient has called their GP surgery. The median time to thrombolysis is 55 minutes after the onset of symptoms; however there is a delay in patients getting thrombolysed if they contacted primary care instead of calling for an ambulance. The project wanted to look in greater detail at this part of the pathway and what was happening when receptionists at GP surgeries took the call. The study is using trained medical role players, posing as patients or relatives, to make telephone calls to GP practices in order to find out what is said during the call and how receptionists perform.

Dr Elizabeth Bates