ESO Department to Department Visit Report by Julie Haesebaert

Thanks to the ESO Department to Department Visit Programme I had the opportunity to visit the Stroke Research Team at King’s College (London, UK) during a one week stay. The team is led by Pr Charles Wolfe and Pr Christopher Mc Kevitt, and is part of the School of Population Health and Environmental Sciences, King’s College London.

 This visit was very relevant, as a public health researcher with special interest for stroke care organization. The Stroke research team developed a very unique research expertise in the field of stroke services research combining epidemiological and social sciences approaches.

During my visit, I had the opportunity to understand the organization and functioning of the internationally recognized population-based stroke register held by the team, the South London Stroke Register. I discussed with all professionals working on the register, at each step of the process, from patient identification, inclusion, data collection, validation to analysis and valorization. The register is a very useful and unique instrument for stroke research, it is very well structured and enables to collect high quality data on stroke patients and to conduct high quality research projects. The register runs since 1995, it comprises more than 6600 patients included and the follow-up reaches more than 20 years for the first included patients. The team collects data at inclusion from hospital wards, radiology and neurovascular clinics, and then follow-up associates phone calls and face-to-face interviews at patient’s home. I had the pleasure to participate to a data collection visit at a patient’s home, which was very instructive.

The Stroke research team facilitates, since 2005, the London Stroke Research Patients and Family Group. This patients and public involvement initiative was developed to inform their research programme from the perspectives of stroke survivors. The group is composed of about 20-30 patients. I attended to a meeting of the group, which gave me the opportunity to chat with patients on their involvement in research. I was impressed by the length of involvement of patients, some of them being member of the group since more than 10 years. A clinician presented a research project protocol to get feedback from the group, it was very instructive to realize the work done to adapt research projects to be understandable to patients and the attention given to identify patients’ priorities and perspectives to improve relevance and feasibility of the research project. Alongside the Stroke Research Patients Group, Pr McKevitt conducted several very interesting research on Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in Stroke, to better understand motivations of patients to engage in the group and study the impact of PPI on research.

I met other collaborators of the teal as well, such as members of the SSNAP team, coordinating the National Audit on the quality and organization of stroke care.

I also visited St Thomas’ Hospital to follow the ward round with Dr Birns in the stroke unit.

It was very interesting to understand differences in stroke care organization between France and UK. Even if this organization differs between the two countries, a lot of stroke services issues are transposable.

This visit was very inspiring to me, the team developed very interesting tools for research, research ideas and projects. I hope that this visit will lay the foundation to build transboarder collaborations and innovative research projects. I deeply thank Pr Wolfe, Pr McKevitt and their whole team for welcoming me, and the ESO for their support.

Applications for  the 2019 ESO Department to Department Visit Programme are now being accepted. All applications must be sent to the ESO Secretariat ( ) by 28 February 2019.