The NHS is failing stroke patients with two thirds of specialist wards without enough properly trained stroke staff, new figures reveal.

Last year 75 percent of the countries’ 126,000 stroke patients were admitted to stroke units that did not have the minimum level of specialist staff to care for them.

Proper intervention following a stroke is vital because the biggest steps in recovery are in the first weeks afterwards. Poor quality of care increases the risk of being left with lifelong physical and mental problems.

Figures gathered from Freedom of Information responses from NHS hospital stroke units reveal last year, an estimated 94,000 patients were admitted to stroke units that did not meet the minimum number of specialist nurses or have a clinical psychologist available.

The data, gathered by the Labour party will fuel concerns that stroke patients are not receiving enough treatment to give them the best chance of recovery.

This is borne out by a recent report from the recent government’s Stroke Audit Programme which stated any fall in senior nurse numbers in stroke wards should be a “cause for concern.”

The analysis comes just weeks after the British Heart Foundation revealed since the onset of the covid rrrpandemic in 2020, there have been 100,000 more deaths involving heart conditions and stroke than expected – known as “excess deaths.”

And recent data shows 45 percent of stroke patients are not being admitted to a stroke unit within the target of 4 hours of arriving at a hospital.

It is believed this is partly down to the failure of emergency services. Average ambulance response times for heart attacks and strokes have consistently been well above the target of 18 minutes and

Last month ambulances in England took an average of 32 minutes and six seconds to reach emergency calls including heart attacks, strokes and sepsis.

The target is 18 minutes but the latest figure was down from a record high of one hour 32 minutes in December.

A government spokesperson said:“We are on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by next year, with nearly 45,000 more working in the NHS compared to September 2019, and the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan will deliver the biggest training expansion in NHS history, backed by over £2.4 billion.

“Our Major Conditions Strategy will tackle cardiovascular disease – including strokes – and we have opened 114 community diagnostic centres that have delivered over 4 million tests, scans and checks including for those with cardiovascular disease.

“The government is also working with NHS England to combat some of the causes of cardiovascular disease, with schemes to support increased physical activity, reduce obesity rates and encourage people to stop smoking.”

Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, Andrew Gwynne said: “When a family member or a loved one has a stroke, you rightly expect them to receive high-quality care quickly.

“It is a mark of shame on the Conservative that, after 13 years of their mismanagement, there aren’t enough staff to provide stroke patients with safe and quality care.

“It will be the mission of the next Labour Government to make the NHS fit for the future and reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke by a quarter within a decade. Lives must not be needlessly lost.”

A government spokesperson said: “We are on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by next year, with nearly 45,000 more working in the NHS compared to September 2019, and the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan will deliver the biggest training expansion in NHS history, backed by over £2.4 billion.

“Our Major Conditions Strategy will tackle cardiovascular disease – including strokes – and we have opened 114 community diagnostic centres that have delivered over 4 million tests, scans and checks including for those with cardiovascular disease.

“The government is also working with NHS England to combat some of the causes of cardiovascular disease, with schemes to support increased physical activity, reduce obesity rates and encourage people to stop smoking.”

Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk

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