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Stroke patients still waiting for rapid specialist treatment

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A quarter of stroke patients are still not being treated in specialist units, a national audit has found, despite evidence to show survival chances are improved by receiving rapid treatment in dedicated units.

There has been an improvement in care since the last study of hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was carried out in 2006, according to the audit carried out by the Intercollegiate Stroke Network, based at the Royal College of Physicians.

However, the chair of the network, Dr Tony Rudd, said it was ‘unacceptable’ that patients were not treated in specialist units, with only 29% of patients taken to one on the same day as their stroke.

Further data from the study found that 17% of patients went to a unit within four hours of having a stroke and 57% within two days.

Once in hospital, the audit found that only a fifth of patients had a brain scan within three hours, and a ‘worrying number’ were moved on into nursing homes.

Dr Rudd said: ‘We know that going to a stroke unit reduces your chances of ending up disabled or dead.

‘Virtually every hospital in England does have a stroke unit. The problem is that many of them are not big enough or are not perhaps run as efficiently as they might be.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Its good to see this is being monitored. My father had a serious stroke in 2004, the emergency services were called and he was taken to the local accident and emergency. No lights were used on the ambulance and we did get stuck in some traffic. When arriving my father was left in the corridor for some time when I questioned the urgency the paramedics told me it wasn't an emergency and so my father would have to wait. This was approximately 16:30 in the afternoon. After about half an hour he was taken into a cubicle to wait for a nurse to see him. I looked at the notice board and my fathers name had been written with a time of approximately 21:00. I asked the nurse what it meant and she suggested that was when the doctor would see him. Luckily my dad did have a fit which summoned the nurses to act a little quicker. He was then given some medication to help him and taken into the resusitation room, however a drug addict had taken an overdose, he came into the emergency ward as an emergency with lots of doctors and nurses rushing around trying to save him. My father was pushed into the corner with no-one and we were ushered out of the room. Panic to save this other man who had intended to end his sorrowful life! My father did survive but with paralysis and loss of speech. I was very disgruntled with the hospital staff. The stroke ward which he was later sent to well thats another story..........

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