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Better stroke care needed

10th August 2006

28032006_ambulance.jpgDespite an increase in the number of hospitals with a specialist stroke unit, emergency services for people suffering from stroke are still not up to standard, finds the National Sentinel Organisational Audit for Stroke 2006.

The audit was carried out on behalf of the Intercollegiate Stroke Group by the Royal College of Physician’s Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit (CEEu) and funded by the Healthcare Commission. 

The audit shows that only 12 per cent of trusts having arrangements with their local ambulance service for emergency transfer to hospital, meaning that many patients with stroke are not getting to hospital quickly enough.

Only 50 per cent of hospitals have an acute stroke unit for emergency patients, although this is up from 34 per cent in 2004.  However there is a large increase in the number of hospitals with a stroke unit that specialise in rehabilitation.
 
Only a tiny proportion of those who might benefit from thrombolytic (clot-busting) treatment are receiving it. Only one in five hospitals say they offer thrombolytic treatment.

Specialist community facilities for people with stroke have not developed as fast as hospital services, say the Commission. 

Chair of the Intercollegiate Stroke Group, Dr Tony Rudd, said:
“Although there are some areas where stroke care has improved significantly over the last few years we are still lagging a long way behind the services provided for heart patients."

 

 

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