AN innovative North-East project that has boosted awareness of how to prevent strokes in vulnerable people has won a national award.

Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group - known as DDES - was awarded the Personalisation of Care Award at the finals of the Patient Experience Network National Awards in Birmingham.

The winning entry helped families and 'vulnerable patients' reduce their risk of suffering a stroke, included a screening programme that focuses on high risk people It also created a network of support groups and volunteers for people already suffering from conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cardio-vascular disease The scheme also developed exercise programmes for people most at risk of suffering a stroke - and their spouses It also ensured pharmacists, GP receptionists and A&E staff are more aware of stroke symptoms.

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"This is a wonderful example of a team of health professionals working together effectively and collaboratively - helping a group of people who are extremely vulnerable," commented Ruth Evans, Director of the Patient Experience Network.

"There continues to be a lack of understanding about stroke prevention and detection among many people. The work of DDES is really helping in this regard and having a big impact at a local level."

Two third parties - Boehringer Ingelheim Limited and social business GCA Limited - have been supporting DDES in the delivery of this work since January 2012.

DDES includes representatives from 41 GP practices in the area.