Welsh Stroke Pilot Measures Revealed

New Project Revealed To Improve Emergency Response Times For Stroke Patients

05.06.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A new pilot system to improve emergency service response times to stroke victims has been unveiled by the Welsh NHS.

The lack of a specific strategy for stroke patients was not regarded as an issue until recently, when the need to provide urgent medical care became clear.

Every minute without treatment for someone who has just had a stroke dramatically increases the chances of life-changing disability or death, so the Welsh Ambulance Service is looking to improve its response to this illness.

The new pilot programme will record the exact amount of time each stage of the emergency response system, including ambulance journeys, triage and prescription, takes so that efficiencies can be found.

While the Welsh NHS is keen on improving response times, the nation's government emphasises that existing targets will not be scrapped in the meantime and that current protocols will remain in place.

Dr Shakeel Ahmad, consultant stroke physician at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: "Currently, stroke performance is measured against four bundles of care, which give an indication of the quality of care that stroke patients receive in hospitals.

"However, they do not consider the critical role that paramedics play in supporting stroke patients and do not demonstrate how effective the NHS is in responding to the immediate needs of a suspected stroke patient."

Mark Drakeford, health minister in Wales, also welcomed the start of the new pilot.

While Mr Drakeford accepted his nation needed to improve its record on helping people with strokes, he blamed this on an ageing population, which has put the Welsh NHS under increasing pressure in recent years.

Longer life expectancies have presented issues for healthcare services across the globe, with many countries turning to private providers in order to alleviate stress on frontline services.

An example of this was seen earlier this week in Leeds, where hundreds of endoscopy patients were referred for private treatment due to a growing backlog.

Expert Opinion
Fast action is the key in attempts to treat stroke victims. Every second can make a massive difference so it will be interesting to see if this new pilot system works to improve response times.

“The issue has been high profile in recent years as it has become clearer that a fast response can save lives and help ease any long term symptoms or issues for stroke survivors.

“If this pilot in Wales is successful then the information should be shared with healthcare provides across the UK so that patient safety can be improved on a wider scale.”
Julie Lewis, Partner