Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI / TCD team to conduct National Audit of Stroke Care.

01 March 2006

  The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have been commissioned to carry out a national audit of stroke services by the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF), in association with the Department of Health and Children. It is planned that the results of the study, which will be led by Professors Hannah McGee, RCSI and Desmond O’Neill, TCD will inform a much-needed national strategy on stroke care.


Pictured L to R (back row) : Ronan Cavanagh, PR Officer Irish Heart Foundation; Professor Seamus Cowman, Professor of Nursing at RCSI and Head of Department at the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery and Dr Sean Murphy, Consultant Geriatrician in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar.

Pictured L to R (middle row) : Dr Emer Shelley, Department of Health and Children and the Department of Epidemiology RCSI; Professor Miriam Wiley, Head of the Health Policy Research Centre of the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and Dr Anne Hickey, Department of Psychology, RCSI.

Pictured L to R (front row) : Dr Frances Horgan, Department of Physiotherapy, RCSI; Professor Hannah McGee, Director of the Health Services Research Centre at the Department of Psychology, RCSI and Professor Des O’Neill, TCD.

The other members of the team from RCSI include co-applicants: Dr Frances Horgan (Physiotherapy), Dr Anne Hickey (Psychology), Dr David Whitford (General Practice), Professor Seamus Cowman (Nursing and Midwifery) and Dr Ronan Conroy (Biostatistics / Epidemiology). The team is collaborating with Dr Emer Shelley Department of Health and Children and the Department of Epidemiology RCSI, Dr Sean Murphy, Consultant Geriatrician in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at the Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar and Professor Miriam Wiley Head of the Health Policy Research Centre of the Economic and Social Research Institute Dublin.

Commenting on the study, Professor McGee, Director of the Health Services Research Centre at the Department of Psychology, RCSI said “We are delighted with the opportunity to provide much-needed national evidence to shape Irish services in the very challenging area of stroke care for the forseeable future. The project fits very well with the bedside to community aspect of RCSI’s Research Strategy and with our focus on cardiovascular health. It also strengthens our research ties with Trinity College where we already focus on stroke patients as part of our Healthy Ageing Research Programme. The ESRI and Midland Hospital Mullingar are also already partners in research and education. Overall, we look forward to have the opportunity to work as a multi-disciplinary partnership on this project.”

Approximately 10,000 people suffer stroke each year in Ireland and it results in approximately 2,500 deaths, accounting for more deaths than breast cancer, lung cancer and bowel cancer combined. Despite the fact that Stroke Units reduce death and disability by 25% (UK National Sentinel Stroke Audit), preliminary evidence suggests that Irish hospital services are poorly served by such units. Community services appear to be under-resourced and ill-focused to the needs of Irish people with stroke. This is against a background of no overall national or regional policy on stroke within the Irish health services, despite the enormous impact of the illness. It has been a cause of considerable concern to those affected by stroke and professionals involved with stroke that there is a dearth of reliable data on the provision of services for stroke in Ireland. The proposed National Audit of Stroke Care project will provide an important advance in quantifying the preparedness of Irish hospitals for modern stroke treatment, as well as providing a nationwide profile.

The project started on March 1st, 2006 and involves six separate surveys: Hospital clinical and organisational audits, and Community-based surveys of General Practitioners, allied healthcare practitioners (AHPs), patients and carers, and nursing homes. The study will take 18 months to complete. New research staff - research fellows Karen Galligan (formerly HRB) and Helen Corrigan (formerly UCD) joined the team on March 6th while two existing staff will finish current contracts and join the project in the coming months - Maja Barker (Psychology, RCSI) and Claire Donnellan (Nursing, Tallaght/TCD).