‘Stroke patients may be losing out

A LEADING medical charity has called for much more rigour in the emergency care of stroke patients in Mid-Ulster.

Andrew Dougal, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) has reported that the group charged with overseeing the 2008 Stroke Strategy has not met for five months and that stroke patients may be losing out.

A report from Imperial College London and the National Audit office in England recounts that those have a stroke at the weekend are more likely to die or are more likely to have long-term disability. The danger is particularly high for younger stroke patients at the weekend who are 60 per cent more likely to die than much older stroke patients.

Andrew Dougal called on the Minister for Health to restore the £4.25m which was excised from the annual stroke strategy budget in 2010.

Mr Dougal went on to congratulate the NI Ambulance Service for the efficient manner in which they ensure that stroke patients arrive at hospital in order to receive clot-busting drugs. These must be administered within three hours of the onset of the stroke.