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Better thrombectomy access can save brains and change lives

Better thrombectomy access can save brains and change lives
Juliet Bouverie OBE, CEO

Juliet Bouverie OBE, CEO | Stroke Association

2 min read Partner content

Thrombectomy, an extraordinary stroke treatment, saves brains, saves money and
changes lives. It can transform stroke recovery in an instant and would save the NHS
£73 million each year. So why do three quarters of the patients who need it miss out?

Stroke remains a leading cause of death and adult disability in the UK - two thirds of stroke survivors will leave hospital with a disability. Yet, a highly effective acute treatment for some strokes – thrombectomy – is essentially ‘subject to availability’. This game changing treatment has been around for over a decade, but the number of people who have had this treatment is still incredibly low. Around three quarters of people who need one miss out.

Despite excellent stroke leadership at national and local levels, the wider system often fails to recognise the scale and impact of stroke, the potential for recovery, and the huge gains to be made by investing in thrombectomy.

Since we launched our Saving Brains report on thrombectomy this summer, around 9000 people affected by stroke, and many health and care organisations signed an Open Letter to Government calling for national action on thrombectomy: to deliver upfront capital investment, develop a sustainable stroke workforce and tackle nationwide ambulance pressures.

“Improving thrombectomy access must be achieved. Too many future stroke patients depend on it”

The APPG on Stroke, co-chaired by Sir Bob Neill MP and Baroness Wheeler, has been keeping stroke, and thrombectomy, high on the agenda. And support has been building.

To mark World Stroke Day in October, MPs and Peers wore Stroke Association badges in the chambers, signed Sir Bob Neill MP’s EDM, and attended our parliamentary reception. There they were joined by doctors and those affected by stroke to hear how better thrombectomy access can save brains and change lives – refocusing us all on a clear call to action.

We recognise the enormous constraints on the NHS, but the new government must look at the bigger picture. Thrombectomy needs upfront investment which will then save the health and care system £73 million each year, by significantly reducing demand on rehabilitation and community support.

The stroke community are awaiting a satisfactory response to our Open Letter from the government. Improving thrombectomy access simply must be achieved. Too many future stroke patients depend on it.

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