A national stroke audit found that only 600 patients a year are given clot retrieval therapy
Approximately 9,000 stroke victims in the UK are failing to receive treatment that can prevent long-lasting disability every year, says a nationwide audit.
Strokes happen when there is an interruption in the flow of blood to vital parts of the brain, which usually occurs as a result of a blood clot in a major vessel in the head. Paralysis and speech problems can develop and worsen the longer the clot is left untreated and the brain is starved of oxygen.
Currently, most stroke victims are given drugs to remove the blockage, but this isn’t as successful as thrombectomy, a surgical procedure to remove it manually with a mesh, which is inserted into the leg and directed to the brain with the help of x-ray guidance.
However, only 600 patients receive this treatment a year, which has been partially attributed to a shortage of staff who are trained to undertake the procedure.
It was also found that 40% of stroke services in the UK had a position for stroke consultant that was unfilled – up 14% on two years prior.
Linda Millband, national practice lead of the clinical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “It’s unacceptable that, in this day and age, patients are being put at risk of serious injury simply because there is a lack of doctors trained in doing this procedure across the UK.
“Our clinical negligence specialists have seen the dire consequences that can occur when patients are not treated either quickly enough or correctly, which can leave them in pain and in need of constant care for the rest of their lives.
“It’s vitally important that the government invests in increasing staffing levels across stroke care, and especially training more doctors to do this vital procedure. This could have a hugely positive impact on the lives of those affected by strokes, who would be able to make a quicker and more successful recovery.”
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