Following years of collaborative working, the stroke team at St George’s Hospital has formally partnered with Phu Tho Hospital in Northern Vietnam.

The hospitals have signed a memorandum of understanding, where St George's will help develop Phu Tho Hospital's stroke unit.

The St George’s team has been working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) since 2013 as part of their international project to help improve healthcare in developing countries, including Vietnam, which led to St George’s helping to write the NICE quality international standards of care for stroke patients in 2014.

Since then, the team at St George’s has visited Vietnam twice a year to work with seven different hospitals to develop the care they provide to stroke patients.

However, during their last visit (October 31– November 3), the St George’s team – made up of staff from stroke, neuroradiology and neuro rehab, formalised the agreement with Phu Tho Hospital.

This means that St George’s will support Phu Tho in operating a centre for stroke treatment in line with international standards, also collaboratively written by St George’s.

Staff from St George’s and Phu Tho can also visit one another to take part in teaching and training as well as work together to improve practice by undertaking audits and analysing the data, for example.

The Vietnamese team were keen to work directly with St George’s as the stroke unit is world-renowned, particularly since becoming the first Trust to provide 24/7 thrombectomy care in the UK in 2016, followed by being named as a designated centre for the use of mechanical thrombectomy in 2018.

The Trust also receives a similar number of stroke admissions to Phu Tho - of which three floors of their 10-storey hospital are dedicated to stroke.

The collaboration has already proved successful with the St George’s team helping to develop the first national Vietnamese competencies for stroke care.

Phu Tho has also seen huge improvements to their stroke unit with the addition of new CT and MRI scanners and advice from our team being implemented.

Gill Cluckie, a Consultant Nurse for Stroke, who initially set up the project from St George’s, said: “The collaboration reflects the huge amount of work that has gone into establishing the service at St George’s.

"We wouldn’t be in a position to help develop other hospitals without having a robust service ourselves. It’s fantastic that we have formed such a positive working relationship with Phu Tho Hospital, through our working with NICE and NHS England over the years.