Stroke news roundup: November 2022

a stack of newspapers with a plant pot set on top

Stroke makes headlines every month. We try to collect these stories in a single place. This month, the news was full of stories about the NHS and ambulance services.

Ambulances and the NHS

There were lots of stories about the state of the NHS and ambulances in the news in November. 

The ambulance response data from October was published last month. It showed that the average response time for people with a suspected stroke was over an hour. The target time is 18 minutes.  

Juliet Bouverie, the CEO of the Stroke Association said: 

"We’re extremely worried that stroke survivors’ lives and recoveries are being put at risk when they aren’t able to access vital treatments such as thrombolysis due to treatment delays. Stroke is a medical emergency and every minute is critical, so it’s vitally important that we are able to get patients to hospital and into stroke treatment as quickly as possible." 

Juliet Bouverie, CEO of the Stroke Association

More than 32,000 people had to wait an average of over two hours for their ambulance to arrive. 

Gavin Matthews is one of these people. He had some twitching and loss of feeling in one hand. His wife called 111, who called an ambulance. But it was cancelled after a 30-minute wait. He and his wife made their way to hospital on the bus. But they were told they could go home.  

His symptoms worsened and they called for an ambulance again. But this one was cancelled too. Luckily, they had family nearby who could drive him to hospital to receive treatment for his stroke. 

These delays, however, meant that Gavin had missed out on clot-busting treatments. You can read more about his story in the Ipswich Star

Thrombectomy should be available to everyone who would benefit 

In Jersey, we’re trying to persuade the Government to fly people to England if they would benefit from a thrombectomy, the ‘miracle treatment’ where clots can be plucked out of large blood vessels in the brain, giving an instant relief. Julie Dryburgh is one of the few islanders who has had a thrombectomy and she shared her story in the Jersey Evening Press to show how effective it can be. She wants others to benefit, despite the costs involved. 

Medical news

We'll finish this month's news roundup with some good news.  

A recent Canadian study found that people who recently had a flu vaccine had a lower risk of stroke.  

The study looked at over 4 million people over a nine-year period. Researchers already knew that flu vaccines reduced the risk of heart attacks. But they wanted to test if the same was true for stroke. 

And it was. 

“Our findings show the risk of stroke is lower among people who have recently received a flu shot. This was true for all adults, not just those at high risk of having a stroke.” 

Dr Michael Hill, University of Calgary

It’s not just the flu vaccine that has shown to reduce the risk of stroke. Recent research has shown people are less likely to have a stroke after having the Covid-19 vaccine. This is in comparison to before getting the vaccine. 

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