Stroke patients face treatment delays

7:30 a.m. January 24, 2022

Stretched ambulance services take an average of over an hour to reach stroke and chest pain patients.

The East of England Ambulance Service reaches people with immediate life-threatening conditions such as cardiac or respiratory arrest within 15 minutes, but new figures show longer delays in other categories .

On average in December 2021, it took an average of 61 minutes to reach patients in serious condition, such as stroke or chest pain, compared to the target of 40 minutes.

The chief executive of the Stroke Association said ambulance and hospital staff had made great strides in reducing wait times for emergency treatment, but gains were being wasted by “systemic challenges”.

Juliet Bouverie OBE said: “We know time wasted is brain waste because when you have a stroke, over 1.9 million brain cells die every minute.

“Over the past few years, ambulance delays have slowly increased and the time it takes for stroke patients to get appropriate treatment has also increased. This danger has slowly increased for many years, but now we are seeing an unprecedented increase in ambulance response times.

“I fear this poses a serious threat to the lives and recovery of stroke patients. Ambulance delays mean delays or missed opportunities for treatment that lead to preventable disability and even death for some stroke patients. a stroke.”

EEAST reported that 14% of paramedics were on sick leave in January 2022.

The latest report from the Ipswich and East Suffolk Board also noted that EEAST is “failing” to meet NHS response time targets.

For life-threatening conditions, the EEAST intervened in 11.33 minutes, reaching patients within the 15-minute target.

Patients with an urgent problem requiring treatment and transport waited an average of 3 hours and 17 minutes – an hour longer than the response time.

EEAST has recruited over 100 call handlers with an accelerated training program to improve call answer times and recruitment is ongoing.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: ‘Since the start of the year we have seen an improvement in our performance thanks in part to a reduction in levels of illness among our staff and we are working hard to further improve our patient response times in most cases. urgent need.”

Dr. Dan Poulter answered the numbers.
– Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said the surge in Covid cases had increased both patient demand and paramedic illness rates.

He said: “So while most people continue to receive timely ambulance care, there has been an unacceptable increase in delays and some patients have consequently received very poor care. This urgently needs to change. .

“I accept there is little the ambulance service can do to deal with these sudden increases in staff sickness rates, but it must continue to work to improve response times in other ways, such as by reducing the time it takes to transfer patients to hospitals.”

About Antoine L. Cassell

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