Scottish health boards ‘failing stroke patients’

Two-thirds of health boards are failing to facilitate speedy access into specialist wards for stroke patients. Picture: Getty

Two-thirds of health boards are failing to facilitate speedy access into specialist wards for stroke patients. Picture: Getty

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Two-thirds of health boards in Scotland have failed to hit a target to make sure stroke patients have speedy access to specialist wards, a report shows.

• Two-thirds of health boards in Scotland are failing to hit targets to ensure stroke patients are admitted into specialist wards quickly

• Only five of the 14 health boards in Scotland are meeting targets, according to Scottish Stroke Care Audit

The Scottish Stroke Care Audit found only five of the country’s 14 health boards had succeeded in admitting at least 90 per cent of patients to a specialist stroke unit on the same or following day after admission to hospital.

This standard has now been dropped from official, but the Scottish Government said it would continue to monitor hospital performance.

The report also revealed hospitals failing to hit other key targets, such as carrying out brain scans quickly and checking if a patient can swallow.

A so-called HEAT target, set by the Scottish Government in 2011, says health boards should admit 90 per cent of stroke patients to a specialist stroke unit on the day of admission or the following day by March 2013.

But yesterday’s report revealed only five boards - Shetland, Ayrshire and Arran, Lanarkshire, Borders and Tayside - had achieved this standard by March.

Elspeth Molony, interim Director of the Stroke Association in Scotland, said:

said they were pleased to see some improvements in stroke standards in the last seven years.

But she added: “The Stroke Association is disappointed to see that many hospitals are still falling short of the quality standards for stroke care and that there is a postcode lottery for stroke care across Scotland.

“We are particularly disappointed to see that only 5 of the 14 health boards in Scotland have met the stroke HEAT target...

“Despite the fact that almost two thirds of health boards in Scotland failed to meet the target, it was allowed to lapse at the end of March meaning that there is currently no HEAT target for stroke care.

“We are now working to ensure that a target is reinstated for April 2014 onwards.”

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