Stroke Service

A Stroke is the name given to the sudden onset of symptoms caused by an interruption of the brain's blood supply. The majority of strokes are caused by a clot or blockage (ischaemic stroke) and less commonly by a bleed (haemorrhage) into the brain.



A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. The Face Arm Speech Time test (F.A.S.T.) can help you recognise the signs of a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA). F.A.S.T. was developed by leading stroke physicians and is used by the emergency services to help them detect the signs.


FACE: Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

ARMS: Can they raise both arms and keep them there?

SPEECH: Is their speech slurred?

TIME: Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.


If the person has failed any of these tests, dial 999 immediately so they can be taken to hospital for urgent treatment.


The Stroke Team

The Stroke Team is lead by Dr Harbans Bhakri. We have a stroke-trained dedicated team consisting of Doctors, Stroke Specialist Nurse, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Dietician and Pharmacist. We also have close links with social worker colleagues in North Somerset and Somerset as well as the North Somerset Community Stroke Coordinator.


The Stroke Service

  • At Weston, there is a 20-bedded Stroke Unit with staff experienced in caring for people with stroke. 
  • People are usually admitted to the Stroke Unit via the Emergency Department.
  • Thrombolysis (a clot busting drug) treatment may be started in the Emergency Department and continuing care will take place on the Stroke Unit
  • Urgent brain scan (e.g. CT or MRI)
  • Acute monitoring up to the first 72 hours as required
  • Investigations to identify the type of stroke and the possible cause of your stroke
  • Multidisciplinary assessment
  • Stroke specialised rehabilitation
  • Support from Community Services
  • Follow-up clinics


For more information about the dedicated Stroke Unit at Weston General Hospital, please see the Stroke Unit page.


People who live in North Somerset

If you live in North Somerset and need a period of rehabilitation then you will stay here in the Stroke Unit. Your length of stay will depend on your progress.

Sometimes people are discharged to their own homes with support to continue rehabilitation from the community team. The nurses and therapists will discuss this with you and your family.


People who live in Somerset

If you live in Somerset then you will either be moved to the West of Somerset Stroke Unit which is in Williton or to Shepton Mallet Community Hospital. This will take place as soon as you are medically stable and there is an available bed. Your rehabilitation will continue there until you are ready to be discharged.

Somerset also has a Stroke Team who will support people at home to continue their rehabilitation. The nurses and therapists will discuss this with you if appropriate.


People who do not live locally

If you do not live in the local area, every effort will be made to transfer you to a hospital near your home when a bed becomes available.


The Stroke Unit

Tel: 01934 647073

The Manager of the Stroke Unit is Sister Cate Barber 

The stroke Specialist Nurse is Sister Simily Saji

Sleep plays a vital part in patient recovery in the early stages after a stroke, and visitors can be very tiring for a patient.

For this reason, we ask visitors to visit only between the hours of 2.30pm - 4.30pm and 6.30pm - 8.00pm. We also ask that each patient has a maximum of 2 visitors at a time. A crowded bed space can make it difficult for a nurse to carry out essential duties.

We have a rest period from 13:30pm – 2:30pm. At this time we turn the lights out and encourage patients to participate in bed rest.

Family and friends can visit the ward out of visiting hours to attend prearranged meetings or treatment sessions.

What do I need whilst in the Unit?

Please supply nightwear, slippers and dressing gown as well as your own toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving foam, razors or electric shaver etc.). We will provide towels. Staff on the Unit will let you know when to bring in clothes to wear. Please bring in sensible shoes to wear whilst undergoing therapy.


Planning for discharge will start as soon as you are admitted and the team may approach you for information.

Before discharge assessments and decisions will be made with you about any support you may need in the community such as on-going therapy, care package, meals on wheels etc.

If you have a small stroke with no disabilities then you are likely to be discharged quickly.If you have mild difficulties then you may be discharged with support from the community services.If you have a major stroke then you may be in hospital for a longer period of rehabilitation. Timescales will depend on your progress. Unfortunately some strokes are devastating and we will ensure appropriate, quality end of life care (QELCA) on the Unit if this is necessary.


TIA Clinic

A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is similar to a stroke but the symptoms only last for a short time (less than 24 hours). This should still be treated as an emergency and you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Most people will need to be seen in the TIA clinics which are held Monday to Friday. If you have been told that you may have had a TIA then you should not drive to the clinic. If a TIA is confirmed then you are not allowed to drive for 4 weeks.

Investigations often include:

  • Blood pressure testing
  • Blood tests for cholesterol and diabetes
  • ECG test
  • Carotid Doppler studies (ultrasound scan of neck arteries)
  • You may need a CT scan or MRI scan
  • You may need an echocardiogram or 24 hour tape

Once your investigations have been completed, the doctors will prescribe the correct treatment and inform your GP of any recommendations. Treatment often consists of medication to control blood pressure, cholesterol and to stop blood clots forming.