HOPE for stroke victims
STROKE sufferers in Suffolk could soon benefit from faster access to life-saving treatment following a new shake up in the NHS, it emerged today.New government targets will stipulate that response times for ambulance crews attending some people who have had a stroke should be even quicker - switching from category B to category A.
STROKE sufferers in Suffolk could soon benefit from faster access to life-saving treatment following a new shake up in the NHS, it emerged today.
New government targets will stipulate that response times for ambulance crews attending some people who have had a stroke should be even quicker - switching from category B to category A.
Category B (serious but not life-threatening) response time targets state that the ambulance service should reach 95 per cent of patients within 19 minutes. Category A (life threatening) targets state 75pc of patients should be reached within eight minutes.
Paramedics say this could make a difference between life and death because it will give patients a better chance of receiving blood-clotting drugs in time to stop major damage to the brain.
Bosses at the East of England Ambulance Service said they welcomed the new improvements but they already aim for a response time of eight minutes.
A spokeswoman said: “In our trust area crews are already meeting an average response time of just over eight minutes to all suspected stroke cases, meaning that patients are already being assessed very quickly.
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“Our clinical team will be considering the new Department of Health guidelines in detail to see where operational improvements can be made.
“Strokes just don't happen to older people and it is proven that people who go fast tracked have a better chance of survival with a better quality of life.”
The guidelines, included in the National Stroke Strategy and approved by the Department of Health, also call for patients who have suffered a major stroke to be given a brain scan within one hour of arriving at Accident and Emergency.
When the changes come into place later this year it will mean a stroke will be treated as an emergency equal to a heart attack.
The proposals will be finalised by new health secretary Alan Johnson who is also expected to include proposals for a better after care service for stroke victims once they return home.
Anybody wanting advice should contact the Stroke Association's National Stroke Helpline on 0845 3033100 or visit www.stroke.org.uk .
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