Stroke patients face weekend delays
Published on 21 March 2012 11:00 AM
A new report has warned that stroke patients admitted to hospital on weekends, evenings and bank holidays suffer delays in getting brain scans and a bed.
The Stroke Improvement National Audit Programme study found 'good evidence' that people admitted 'out of hours' also wait twice as long to be assessed and generally suffer worse outcomes than those admitted during routine hours.
The research, which covered more than 32,000 patients, also found that 34% of all stroke victims are admitted to a non-specialist ward.
On average, NHS patients in England and Northern Ireland typically wait 188 minutes to be assessed by a member of a stroke team 'out of hours' compared to 87 minutes for those admitted in normal working hours, it found.
The wait to be given a dedicated stroke bed was 234 minutes compared to 211, while the delay to receiving a brain scan was 170 minutes compared to 120.
The worst delays are experienced by patients who suffer a stroke while already in hospital, which the report said 'suggests that hospital teams need to be educated about stroke symptoms and how to contact the stroke team'.
There are about 150,000 cases of stroke and 53,000 UK fatalities in the UK each year. Receiving prompt treatment is central to reducing the risk of death and disability.
Copyright Press Association 2012