Alexis Wieroniey, Deputy Director for Policy and Influencing at the Stroke Association said:
“The Stroke Association supports the delivery of properly resourced seven-day health services. Having a stroke is a medical emergency and it can happen to anyone at any time. A fully functioning seven day service needs adequate resources including the staff levels necessary to deliver the full range of specialist stroke services.
“The 2015 study at the heart of this debate showed that stroke mortality increased for admissions at weekends, when compared with normal week days. However, the data used in the analysis is not a reflection of the current NHS stroke services and is taken from the years 2004-2012; some of these years are before the successful widespread availability of stroke units in England. This is reflected in the data, which shows that only around 5% of all patients were admitted to a stroke unit and less than 20% of them were seen by a specialist stroke doctor.The Stroke Sentinel clinical audit of stroke services shows now 75% of stroke patients are admitted directly to a stroke unit, which has been instrumental in improving outcomes.
The SSNAP acute organisational audit shows there have also been improvements in the availability of stroke consultants, with seven day consultant ward rounds increased to almost two thirds. However, much more improvement is needed. We want to all stroke patients admitted directly to a stroke unit and for seven day consultant ward rounds to be available in all areas.
“Stroke is always, and should always, be treated as a medical emergency. Every stroke patient should have access to immediate treatment and high quality, life-saving care to make their best possible recovery, whatever day of the week it might be. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, dial 999 and seek immediate hospital treatment.”