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Six in ten stroke patients waiting dangerously long times to be seen, study shows

Six in 10 stroke patients wait ages to be seen in the specialist unit as only 40% are admitted in the recommended four hours, study shows

  • Only 38.3 percent of patients were admitted to the ED within four hours of arrival
  • The data for the first three months of this year was 10 percent lower than in 2021
  • The average waiting time was five hours and 17 minutes
  • There are about 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, resulting in 34,000 deaths

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Six in 10 stroke patients face dangerously long wait times to be seen in a specialist unit, a study finds.

Only 38.3 percent were admitted within the recommended four hours of arriving at the emergency room during the first three months of this year.

The figure was ten percentage points lower than in the same period in 2021.

The average wait time was five hours and 17 minutes.

Data from the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme, analyzed by Labour, covered England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are about 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, with 34,000 deaths.

Only 38.3 percent of stroke patients were admitted to the ED within the recommended four hours of arrival in the first three months of this year.  Image: file image

Only 38.3 percent of stroke patients were admitted to the ED within the recommended four hours of arrival in the first three months of this year. Image: file image

Charlotte Nicholls, of the Stroke Association, said, “It’s vital to get to a stroke unit to get appropriate, timely treatment.”

In England, George Eliot Hospital in Birmingham had the highest average waiting time for a stroke patient to be admitted to a specialist unit of more than 36 hours, more than nine times the maximum recommended time.

It was followed by Warwick Hospital, with an average waiting time of over 26 hours, followed by Bedford Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, in the East Midlands, both of which had over 25 hours.

Wales had the highest overall figures, with the Princess Of Wales Hospital in Bridgend having an average waiting time of over 41 hours.

Next up was Glan Clwyd District General Hospital in Denbighshire, with a figure of over 29 hours.

The data also showed that the average time between arrival at the hospital and thrombolysis, a crucial disability-saving treatment, was about the same at 52 minutes as last year in all three countries – two minutes faster than in 2021.

The Stroke Association recommends that thrombolysis be given within four and a half hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.

The average response time of ambulances for category two calls, including suspected heart attacks and strokes, is 40 minutes in England – more than double the government’s target of 18 minutes, according to the latest figures from this year.

Last year, Public Health England relaunched its Act FAST campaign, urging everyone to take immediate action when seeing stroke symptoms to save lives.

It wrote: ‘Early treatment not only saves lives, but results in a greater chance of a better recovery, as well as a likely reduction in permanent disability from stroke.

Public Health England (PHE), supported by the Stroke Association, is today relaunching the Act FAST campaign to remind people of the symptoms of stroke and why urgently calling 999 is vital to save lives.

Every minute that a stroke is left untreated, about 1.9 million nerve cells in the brain are lost, which can lead to slurred speech and paralysis. If left untreated, a stroke can lead to permanent disability or death.”

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