More than half of NHS patients showing symptoms of stroke or transient ischemic attack are still failing to get fast access to life-saving prevention surgery, a new report has found.
According to the Carotid Endartectomy Audit, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and carried out by the Royal College of Physicians and the Vascular Society, high-profile public awareness campaigns have had a limited impact.
The report showed that there has been some improvement in the overall time in which patients are getting surgery of the neck arteries to prevent strokes.
However, there are considerable regional variations in terms of how quickly these services are accessed, with patients in certain areas of the country having to wait for two months, while others are treated in a couple of days or so.
Vascular Society Audit chairman and consultant vascular surgeon Mr David Mitchell said: "Despite the good work by many clinicians, this study shows that we have a long way to go if we are to meet current NICE [National Institute of Clinical Excellence] guidance of getting 100 per cent of patients who need surgery into the operating theatre within 14 days."
The Stroke Association claims that 53,000 people die from strokes each year in the UK.