The British Association of Stroke Physicians (BASP) said there was a “significant and growing shortage of stroke consultants” in the UK, with around four in ten hospitals providing stroke care having an unfilled consultant post – compared to less than three in ten (26 per cent) in 2014.
In its report, BASP said immediate access to procedures such as intravenous thrombolysis and mechanical thrombectomy, which dissolve clots and restore blood flow to the brain, can significantly decrease the risk of long-term disability and save millions of pounds in long-term health and social care costs. But it warned that a lack of specialist staff “is limiting the ability of the NHS to deliver the latest medical advances and best treatment to stroke patients”.
BASP said an extra 226 full-time stroke consultants are required – a rise of a third on existing figures.
BASP president Professor Tom Robinson said: “Stroke can be devastating for patients and their families, but the sooner a person receives treatment, the less damage is likely to happen.”