Publish date: 23 June 2020

The Hyperacute Stroke Unit (HASU) and the Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) services were relocated from the seventh floor of University College Hospital to The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) on 20 March 2020 as part of UCLH’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the NHNN we have created an acute assessment area, the Emergency Stroke Unit, to receive acute admissions and assess transfers from other hospitals, and opened a new combined HASU and acute stroke unit ward on the third floor.

The new TIA resource is now located in the adjacent Basil Samuels Outpatients Department and both are easily accessible on the ground floor of the Chandler Wing of the hospital.

Just like all other stroke services in the United Kingdom, our service saw a substantial reduction in the number of stroke presentations to our team despite continuing to run a 24-hour HASU and a seven-day consultant-led TIA service.

It is understood that some of this drop in activity is simply the consequence of an understandable concern on the part of the public about visiting hospitals. We have adapted to this concern by introducing a consultant-led telephone triage function for the TIA clinic and piloting a video link with the ambulance service to attempt to make the best decisions for patients before they leave their home.

This helps to ensure that we are able to reach as many people as need us but, for our population, timely stroke investigation is essential. For this reason we have reduced to a minimum the time that patients need to spend in hospital and ensured that access to the required definitive investigations remains full.

Stroke and TIA continue to be health emergencies and, despite the pandemic, we are keen to reach patients who need us at the very earliest opportunity.

Contact: Rob Simister, stroke service, and Arvind Chandratheva, TIA service
UCLH.stroke.admin.nhnn@nhs.net. For all TIA enquiries please email UCLH.tianeuroclinic@nhs.net. For emergency referrals please call 0775373986.