Stroke consultant crisis

  • January 30, 2020
  • Shortage of specialists

    Almost half of hospitals have a shortage of specialist stroke consultants, and the Stroke Association has called on the Government to take action to prevent the UK from “hurtling its way to a major stroke crisis.”

    The figures obtained by King’s College London highlight that 48% of hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have, for the last 12 months or more, had a vacancy for at least one stroke consultant.

    Misdiagnosed stroke

    Alison Brown is just one of many people who have suffered as a result of a lack of specialist stroke consultants.

    In 2016 Alison suffered a stroke but a lack of specialist stroke consultants meant that she did not get the diagnosis she needed. Non-specialist doctors from a number of different hospitals told Alison that there was nothing seriously wrong with her, with one doctor telling her that she had an ear infection.

    Ten months later Alison suffered a tear in a blood vessel caused by a turn of the neck whilst dancing. This caused a clot, impeding the supply of blood to her brain. At hospital a junior doctor who had identified a problem with Alison’s blood flow to her brain was dismissed, and her problems were put down to a migraine.

    Days later, Alison collapsed at home. She admitted herself to a hospital which had a stroke ward and was finally provided with the diagnosis and care that she needed. However, she continues to suffer from blackouts and states that her life will never be the same.

    Stroke treatment

    Alison is just one of many people who have suffered as a result of the shortage of specialist stroke consultants. However, the crisis goes further than just having the correct professionals on hand for diagnoses.

    In stroke care, a quick diagnosis is essential to help prevent lasting damage which can leave a patient with paralysis and speech problems. A lack of specialist stroke consultants means that medical advances are not being put into effect, despite an estimated 1 in 10 stroke patients being eligible for advanced treatments.

    The NHS has confirmed that it is looking to train more clinicians to deliver stroke care and has also taken action to concentrate specialist care to hyper-acute stroke units in both London and Manchester.

    Elizabeth Wickson of Medical Accident Group said: “Action must be taken to improve training across the NHS to ensure that, whilst there is a lack in the number of specialist stroke consultants, doctors and nurses are better equipped to diagnose and treat strokes. Leaving patients to suffer from missed or late diagnosis of a stroke is never acceptable.”

    If you or a family member have suffered from poor stroke treatment or late diagnosis, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors who will guide you through the process of making a claim. Call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at info@medicalaccidentgroup.co.uk.

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