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Care lacking for mini-stroke victims

22nd July 2010

An audit from the Royal College of Physicians and Vascular Society has revealed that many patients at high risk of stroke are not getting the specialist treatment they need.

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People who suffer a mini-stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA) are meant to undergo neck surgery to help prevent a more serious stroke but the college found just 1,005 of 3,000 patients had the op by the two-week deadline.

A significant number of others did not get it all while others waited 28 days.

In the audit, the college found that 500 lives a year could be saved if those who suffer a TIA underwent an operation known as a carotid endarterectomy to unblock the arteries within 14 days.

Key problems highlighted were lack of GP referral, hospital staff and equipment.

The audit concluded that stroke services would be best concentrated in fewer, larger centres to ensure adequate staffing and resources were available.

Nikki Hill of the Stroke Association said: "This audit shows that there is still a long way to go to make sure people get urgent preventative treatment that could prevent a catastrophic stroke."

The government’s stroke tsar Professor Roger Boyle said the NHS had made progress on improving stroke services but that it needed to go further to achieve outcomes that compare with the best performing countries in the world.

He said the new quality standards, which were set out a month ago for stroke and stressed the importance of prompt access to surgery, would help improve performance.

 

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