A new, free training initiative launches in the New Year to help GP receptionists recognise the symptoms of stroke and TIA (transient ischaemic attack).

The programme, 'Getting to Hospital at a Single Stroke', has been developed in response to a recent study at the University of Birmingham that revealed that 20% of stroke patients called their GP, rather than an ambulance, at the onset of symptoms.

Dr Liz Bates, a GP in Birmingham and NIHR Clinical Lecturer at the university, was involved in the research and is now project lead for the training initiative. She explained: "From the second the symptoms appear the clock is ticking: to save lives and minimise long-term damage, stroke patients must be diagnosed and treated in just four-and-a-half hours".

GP reception staff are on the front line, and we aim to give these staff the confidence to recognise stroke and TIA symptoms as emergencies, and the skills to act quickly and effectively to improve clinical outcomes.

'Getting to Hospital at a Single Stroke' offers two complementary and flexible ways to access training: an e-learning module accessed online and a half-day face-to-face training event delivered at venues across the region. The pilot will launch in the Telford and Wrekin CCG area in Shropshire in January and be rolled out to the wider West Midlands the following month.

Based at the University of Birmingham, Getting to Hospital at a Single Stroke is supported by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) and operated in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research's CLAHRC (Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care) West Midlands.

HSMC's Jon Glasbyis the theme lead for chronic disease and integrated care for the West Midlands CLAHRC and you can find more information about the project here

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