A new report by the Stroke Association released today warns that, if the thrombectomy rate stays at 2020/21 levels, 47,112 stroke patients in England would miss out on the game changing acute stroke treatment, mechanical thrombectomy, over the length of the newly revised NHS Long Term Plan. This year, NHS England missed its original target to make mechanical thrombectomy available to all patients for whom it would benefit – only delivering to 28% of all suitable patients by December 20212.
The Stroke Association’s ‘Saving Brains’ report calls for a 24/7 thrombectomy service, which could cost up to £400 million. But treating all suitable strokes with thrombectomy would save the NHS £73 million per year. Stroke professionals quoted in the report cite insufficient bi-plane suites, containing radiology equipment, as a barrier to a 24/7 service.
The Stroke Association is calling for:
The Treasury to provide urgent funding for thrombectomy in the Autumn Budget 2022, for infrastructure, equipment, workforce training and support, targeting both thrombectomy centres and referring stroke units.
Department of Health and Social Care to develop a sustainable workforce plan to fill the gaps in qualified staff.
NHS England to address challenges in transfer to and between hospitals in its upcoming Urgent & Emergency Care Plan.
Putting innovation - such as artificial intelligence (AI) imaging software and video triage in ambulances - into practice.
Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association said: “Thrombectomy is a miracle treatment that pulls patients back from near-death and alleviates the worst effects of stroke. It’s shocking that so many patients are missing out and being saddled with unnecessary disability. Plus, the lack of understanding from government, the NHS and local health leaders about the brain saving potential thrombectomy is putting lives at risk. There are hard-working clinicians across the stroke pathway facing an uphill struggle to provide this treatment and it’s time they got the support they need to make this happen. It really is simple. Thrombectomy saves brains, saves money and changes lives; now is the time for real action, so that nobody has to live with avoidable disability ever again."
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Source: The Stroke Association, 28 July 2022