An Educational Course on Identification and Management of Stroke and TIA for Primary Care Staff


Most people have their first symptoms of acute stroke outside hospital. It is vital that healthcare professionals (eg GPs and their receptionists, telephone advice line nurses, emergency care paramedics, A&E staff) can recognise stroke as accurately as possible to facilitate appropriate emergency care.

National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke, 2008

GP contact is a commonly accessed route for people with stroke symptoms, particularly for TIA and for atypical stroke symptoms. However, stroke-specific training for primary care staff is variable in scope and quality. Staff who may benefit from stroke-specific training include non-clinical staff such as receptionists, as well as qualified and unqualified clinical staff. In addition to traditional face-to-face courses, on-line learning may be a useful approach. On-line education has grown in popularity, ranging from support of traditional classroom based lectures to learning completely on-line. Provision of an on-line course may meet the needs of flexibility of access, and the content can be tailored to user needs.

Project aims

The aim of this study is to evaluate the acceptability and impact of different modes (online only versus online plus face-to-face modes) of stroke training for primary care staff. We have conducted a pilot study with a Primary Care Trust in the North West. Practices were allocated to online only; online plus single afternoon session; or online plus three lunchtime sessions.

Findings so far

  • Almost all attendees were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with facilitation of learning, learning resources, teaching accommodation and overall satisfaction.
  • Stroke-specific training for qualified and unqualified staff in primary care may confer short and long-term benefits for practice. Single classroom sessions, supplemented by online training, are the likely preferred delivery method.

Further information

  • We are planning further work to examine patients’ and carers’ needs in relation to primary care support, and how primary care staff can develop the knowledge and skills to identify and meet these needs.
  • The online courses have been endorsed by the UK Forum for Stroke Training
  • Access to the online courses is free and can be arranged by contacting the team at

For more information about this project, please contact Dr. Jo Gibson.

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