NEAS paramedic first in the UK to undertake specialist research work for the Stroke Association

Study will involve real cases from the North East


NEAS Research paramedic Graham McClelland has been awarded a prestigious research fellowship by the Stroke Association to undertake a PhD at the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University

Each year the Stroke Association awards prestigious research fellowships to outstanding candidates from the stroke research community across the UK.

Stroke is the fourth single largest cause of death in the UK and the largest cause of complex disability.  Someone has a stroke every three and a half minutes in the UK.  However, just £48 a year is spent on stroke research for every patient living with stroke in the UK, compared with £241 spent on cancer research for every cancer patient.

This year, Graham was one of just two postgraduate fellowships awarded, and is the first paramedic ever to be recognised at this level by the Stroke Association, as the fellowships have historically been awarded to other healthcare professionals.

Graham’s fellowship will fund him to complete a postgraduate research qualification (PhD) which will help him pursue a research career focussing on the emergency treatment of stroke.

Graham has many years of experience as a paramedic at North East Ambulance Service Foundation Trust and plans to develop and test a new screening process to improve the accuracy of paramedic stroke recognition.  Graham will be analysing real cases attended by North East Ambulance Service across the region to better understand how to determine the important clinical features that identify patients who have a stroke mimic and looking at how this would affect the care delivered across the region.

He said “Paramedic practice is developing at a very rapid pace at the minute with massive advances in areas such as trauma and the care of heart attack patients. Stroke is another very important area that I want to try and improve our care in. Paramedics are very good at identifying people who have suffered a stroke but we also pick up a number of other conditions which look like a stroke but have a different cause called stroke mimics. If we can identify these stroke mimics then we can get the right patient to the right care which benefits everybody.”

Dr Shamim Quadir, Research Communications Manager at the Stroke Association, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Graham.  His research could help paramedics to distinguish stroke from other conditions more accurately, and help patients to get the right care they need.  Every minute is crucial when treating stroke, and Graham’s work has the potential to improve the use of resources for emergency stroke treatment.  When a stroke strikes, time saved is brain saved.”

Dr Christopher Price, Stroke Association funded Princess Margaret Fellow, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Neuroscience and Graham’s supervisor, said:  “This award builds upon Newcastle University’s pioneering work into the identification of stroke patients and is a very exciting opportunity for Graham to improve the efficiency of emergency stroke care in the NHS”.

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