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


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

  • Only 38.3 per cent of patients were admitted within four hours of arriving in A&E
  • The data from the first three months of this year was down 10 per cent from 2021 
  • The average wait was five hours and 17 minutes
  • There are about 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, causing 34,000 deaths 

Six in ten stroke patients face dangerously long waits to be seen in a specialist unit, a study found. 

Just 38.3 per cent were admitted within the recommended four hours of arriving in A&E during the first three months of this year. 

The figure was down ten percentage points on the same period in 2021. 

The average wait was five hours, 17 minutes.

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

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

Just 38.3 per cent of stroke patients were admitted within the recommended four hours of arriving in A&E during the first three months of this year. Picture: file image

Just 38.3 per cent of stroke patients were admitted within the recommended four hours of arriving in A&E during the first three months of this year. Picture: file image

Charlotte Nicholls, at the Stroke Association, said: ‘Getting to a stroke unit is vital for receiving appropriate, timely treatment.’

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

It was followed by Warwick Hospital, which had a median waiting time of more than 26 hours, followed by Bedford Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, in the East Midlands, which both had figures of more than 25 hours.

Wales had the highest overall figures, with the Princess Of Wales Hospital in Bridgend having a median waiting time of more than 41 hours.

After that was the Glan Clwyd District General Hospital in Denbighshire, which had a figure of more than 29 hours.

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

The stroke association recommends thrombolysis is given within four-and-a-half hours of stroke symptoms starting.

The average ambulance response time for category two calls, which includes suspected heart attacks and strokes, is 40 minutes in England – more than double the Government’s 18-minute target, according to this year’s most recent figures.

Last year, Public Health England relaunched its Act FAST campaign, urging everyone to take immediate action on seeing any 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 reminding people of the symptoms of stroke and why urgently calling 999 is vital in saving lives.

‘Around 1.9 million nerve cells in the brain are lost every minute that a stroke is left untreated, which can result in slurred speech and paralysis. If left untreated, a stroke can result in permanent disability or death.’

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