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Brain Haemorrhage Delays 'Harming NHS Patients'

Report Shows Some GPs Are Failing To Diagnose Brain Haemorrhages


A new report has shown some GPs are not properly diagnosing dangerous brain haemorrhages.

Guidance published in medical manuals repeatedly states the importance of treating bleeding on the brain quickly, or permanent disabilities - and even death - could result.

But an analysis of care conducted as part of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) report has shown only 30 per cent of patients admitted to hospitals at weekends get the care they need for a haemorrhage within the key 24-hour time frame, compared to 70 per cent in the week.

To prevent this imbalance of care, doctors are calling for formal networks of care to be established - linking all hospitals receiving patients with bleeding on the brain to centralised regional neuroscience centres that can better care for their needs.

The NCEPOD has also called on the government to make it a standard protocol for people with haemorrhages to be given an initial assessment, diagnosis, management, referral and transfer to a specialist unit within a quicker frame of time - as treating the disease rapidly greatly improves survival rates.

Additionally, doctors on the NCEPOD panel want the government to properly fund rehabilitation programmes for patients who have had an aneurysm - as care is currently lacking in this regard.

Famous television political pundit and presenter Andrew Marr has previously backed these calls and said he wants to see a 'National Rehabilitation Service' on par with the NHS.

Mr Marr had a stroke earlier this year and has campaigned for better care in people with brain injuries, as rehabilitation provision is currently lacking and often dependent on which NHS trust the patient is registered with.

Commenting on the NCEPOD's recommendations, the panel's chair Bertie Leigh said: "This potentially fatal disease has to progress from the GP's surgery or A&E, where it may present ostensibly as a simple headache, to the operative setting as fast as possible.

"An occurrence rate of about 5,000 cases a year makes [haemorrhages] common enough to be a priority for the [NHS]."

Expert Opinion
This latest analysis by the NCEPOD is clearly a massive concern and there is obvious evidence that this issue needs to be subjected to a greater level of scrutiny. Time is of the essence when it comes to the treatment of so many conditions and every effort needs to be made to ensure that patients are able to quickly access the help they need when necessary.

"One of the particularly concerning aspects is the significant drop seen in the number of patients getting the right standard of care at weekends. It is so important that quality care is available to patients around the clock and we would urge the NHS to continue to examine how improvements can be made in this area.

"The welfare and safety of patients must always come first and findings of this nature simply cannot be ignored."
Lisa Jordan, Partner