Longer wait for stroke patients

Stroke victims in the South West are having to wait for much longer than the national average before being seen by specialist staff, it is claimed.

Patients in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth waited up to 41 hours before being seen by specialist staff.

Figures from the Royal College of Physicians also show that between April and June, many patients waited more than nine hours before being scanned.

These figures are much higher than average.

'Technical issues'

Some stroke patients arriving at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, waited up to 19 hours before being seen by specialist stroke staff.

The national average was just over three-and-a-half hours.

It was a similar story for stroke patients needing a specialist bed at the hospital in Truro.

Out of hours, some of them waited 24 hours while nationally the wait was only four hours.

In a statement Dr Steven Allder, Assistant Medical Director at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "With respect to the immediate care of patients, all patients bought in to Derriford suspected of having a stroke come to one central point in the hospital. One hundred per cent of patients are assessed for clot-busting drugs and brain scanning.

"The patients are then reviewed again, 70% of those will be transferred directly to our Acute Stroke Unit, 100% will be transferred to the unit within 24 hours depending on their other clinical needs."

Jo Gibbs, chief operating officer at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, said: "They are getting their diagnosis very rapidly. Sometimes the patients aren't always getting to the stroke unit and that is what we're working on.

"I wouldn't want the impression to be those patients are left in the department inappropriately or not getting specialist care. That's absolutely not the case."

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