NHS centralised stroke services have saved lives, report says

 

Health Reporter

Focusing NHS stroke services in fewer, highly specialised hospitals has saved lives and cut the length of time that patients have to spend in hospital, new research has revealed.

London and Greater Manchester introduced new centralised stroke services in 2010, in a major reform which saw many stroke patients taken to a specialist unit rather than to their nearest hospital.

Despite fears that the changes could lead to the demise of local hospitals, research carried out by University College London now shows that concentrating the stroke services at just eight hospitals in London has saved nearly 100 lives per year in the capital, over and above reductions in stroke mortality seen in the rest of the country.

While there were no extra lives saved in Manchester, researchers said that, in the two years after the reforms were brought in, the reconfiguration had led to 17,700 fewer days in hospital for stroke patients in the city. A similar reduction in lengths of stay was also seen among stroke patients in London.

Researchers said that stroke patients admitted to centralised units could benefit from care by specialised stroke medical teams, with access to immediate brain imaging and thrombolysis – the use of drugs to break up the blood clots than can cause strokes.

Video: Improvement in care for stroke patients

Their findings, published in the British Medical Journal today coincide with new evidence of the benefits of treating stroke patients with thrombolytic drugs as soon as possible.

A major analysis published in The Lancet suggested that patients who were treated with the drug alteplase within three hours of their first symptoms of ischaemic stroke – the most common form – were 75 per cent more likely to have no major disability six months later, than patients who did not receive the drug.

Those given the drug between three hours and 4.5 hours after symptoms were only 26 per cent more likely to have such an outcome and those treated after 4.5 hours only had a 15 per cent better chance.

Kenny Lees, professor of cerebrovascular medicine at the University of Glasgow, the study’s co-author, said that the results showed that “every second counts” when treating ischaemic stroke.

In separate findings also published today, the British Heart Foundation said that more than 35 per cent more people suffer a heart attack or stroke in the UK every year than was previously thought, with the annual figure now reaching 410,000, according to latest hospital statistics.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Plant Fitter - Construction Industry

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

    Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

    £7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003