An Assembly Member has raised her concern over the speed by which some health boards are treating stroke patients.

In an exchange with the Welsh Labour Government’s Cabinet Health Secretary, Angela Burns AM – Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Health – revealed the findings of a freedom of information request which shows health boards are flouting NICE guidelines.

Angela Burns AM said:

“NICE guidelines are explicit in their guidance that patients suffering from stroke should start treatment within three hours of the onset of their condition.

“But data received so far from three health boards indicates that this just isn’t happening, and instead they confirm that patients are invariably waiting for three to five hours, falling well outside this crucial window.

“This is made worse by the fact that in the Welsh Government’s new ambulance response model strokes are no longer time-targeted, and have been taken out by most urgent ‘red’ category.

“The recovery of stroke patients relies on the speed of treatment. If there are delays in an ambulance arriving at the scene of a stroke, and further delays to their treatment in hospital, it can be catastrophic to patients’ long-term recovery.

“While I welcome the fact that the Cabinet Secretary seems to be taking this issue seriously, he must take steps to ensure that the ambulance response model is re-evaluated and that hospitals adhere to NICE guidelines giving patients the best possible chance of a full convalescence.”

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