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
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea