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: Games Developer - HTML5

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

    £26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

    Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

    £6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

    Day In a Page

    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    6 best recipe files

    6 best recipe files

    Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Atwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open