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Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust Stroke Team scoop national award for Digital Innovation

The Stroke Team at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised for their ground-breaking work to improve care for patients at the national Our Health Heroes Awards, winning the NHS Improvement through Digital Innovation award.

The award, presented at a ceremony in London, celebrates the work the team have done to embed and use AI (Artificial Intelligence) when diagnosing patients with suspected strokes, making treatment quicker and chances of recovery better. 

Kiruba Nagaratnam, Stroke Consultant said, “I’m extremely proud of the whole team. Our main aim is to make sure patients receive the treatment and care they need as quickly as possible, so that they can recover and get back to living full lives. 

“It’s rewarding to be honoured with this award, as it is recognition of the hard work and dedication I know the whole team have put in to this. And we can see the difference it is making to our patients too, which makes it all worthwhile.” 

Each year, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust see approximately 700 patients who have had a stroke. When a patient first arrives with a suspected stroke, every second counts. 

The AI technology, provided by industry partner Brainomix, means clinicians can spot a clot in the brain quickly. And that means further treatment, for example using clot-busting medication, or removing the clot mechanically can happen more quickly too, all helping to make sure every patient has the best chance to recover fully. 

Since starting to use this new technology, more than 2,000 patients at the Trust have benefited from it, with the number of patients regaining independence after a stroke trebling. 

The team have also supported other Trusts across the Thames Valley, and the rest of the country, to incorporate this technology into their care of patients with suspected strokes. 

Will Orr, Chief Medical Officer at the Trust said, “I’m delighted for Kiruba and the whole team. I know that this took dedication and ingenuity to get off the ground. And we can see from the results it’s had that it’s undoubtedly making a real difference to patients in our care. 

“Having a stroke can be life-changing and scary. I hope our patients are reassured to know that we are always looking for new and better ways of doing things to make sure we provide the best possible care to them.”

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