More stroke patients receiving clot-busting drugs

ALMOST half of stroke patients in England eligible to receive clot-busting drugs are now receiving them, up from just one in 20 four years ago, according to a new report.

The figures were compiled by the Stroke Improvement National Audit Programme (SINAP), which is run by the Royal College of Physicians’ Stroke Programme.

They show that stroke care in England is improving overall with 53 per cent of patients admitted to a stroke unit within four hours of arriving at hospital. Eight per cent of patients received clot-busting treatment (thrombolysis) following a stroke – up from just one per cent in 2008. But just over a third of patients are still being admitted to non-specialist units when they should be admitted to stroke units.

The audit suggests that most stroke patients who do not receive thrombolysis are failing to do so because they do not get to a hospital's stroke unit in time.

The RCP also expressed concern that poorer performing hospitals may not have submitted data for the audit.

Professor Tony Rudd, chair of the Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party and director of the RCP stroke programme, said: "Acute stroke services are improving in England albeit from a low base.

"Not all hospitals contributed to this national audit and one has to be concerned that the quality of care in the non participating hospitals may be lagging behind those who have been willing to share their data."

Joe Korner, of The Stroke Association, said that although there were "excellent results" from some parts of the country "unfortunately some hospitals are falling short".

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