Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland has seen demand for its services double during the lockdown
Scotland’s largest stroke care charity is warning of a stroke care crisis unless the Scottish Government commits to a long-term support package.
The call, from Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, comes as official figures revealed that key targets for accessing vital stroke care were still being missed in 2019.
NHS boards are expected to achieve an 80% compliance rate in delivery of stroke care bundles, which ensure patients receive fast admission to stroke units for specialist treatment.
However, the compliance rate across Scotland last year was just 64%, with no health board meeting the 80% target.
Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland is now warning that with the added pressures of Covid-19 on the NHS and wider community services, stroke patients’ survival and recovery could be further put at risk unless urgent action is taken.
The charity – which has seen demand for its services double during the lockdown – is calling for a package of support from the Scottish Government that sets out a joined-up approach between NHS, social care services and charities to ease pressures on stroke services and staff so that the quality of stroke care can continue to improve.
Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive at Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, said: “While the report shows that some progress is being made in some areas, key stroke care targets were still being missed before the Covid-19 pandemic. This report is a warning that we can’t let progress towards meeting reasonable targets and delivery of better stroke care stall or go backwards because of the virus.
“We know that coronavirus is putting the NHS under considerable pressure. We are also being told that the virus could be with us for some time. We need the Scottish Government to come forward with a package of measures that helps stroke care continue to improve and helps people live well at home.
“The Covid-19 crisis must not develop into a wider stroke care crisis. We have an opportunity to do things better to give people the best possible recovery and reduce future pressures on the NHS.”